Academic Departments University of Calcutta


Year of Establishment : 1960

History of the department : In his convocation address in 1911, the Vice-Chancellor, Asutosh Mookerjee regretted the absence of any systematic study of ‘our ancient history and culture.’ Thus the University became a parallel arena for giving people a sense of their past. This may be situated in the developments of early twentieth century when outside the purview of an official archaeology of the Archaeological Survey of India an initiative was being made, as part of the imperial policy, to give more academic space to the Universities. In the tenure of Sir Asutosh Calcutta University established the Chair of Carmichael Professor of Ancient Indian history and Culture and the subject was introduced in the curriculum of post-graduate studies. In 1917 Archaeology and Numismatics were considered as special subjects, which could be taught by persons who did not necessarily have to be engaged in educational endeavours. In 1919 an MA degree was instituted in this subject. In 1932 a separate department of Ancient Indian History was formed. Indian Epigraphy, Numismatics, Fine Arts and Iconography constituted segments of the syllabus. Another segment constituted of the Historical geography of Ancient India. This may be seen as a continuity of the tradition of studying the past with the aid of classical texts. The Asutosh Museum of Indian art was established (under the auspices of University) in 1937, and may be considered as the most significant event in the development of this discipline in Bengal. The museum’s primary objective was to collect and preserve objects belonging to different phases of Indian art, with special emphasis on Bengal, illustrating how museum-building activities were entwined with the growth of archaeology. Under the auspices of the Museum Calcutta University became the first university in the country to undertake excavations at Bangarh in 1938. The excavations continued till 1941 under K.G. Goswami who was the Excavation Officer of the Museum. However, it was only with the establishment of the Department of Archaeology in 1960 that Archaeology received its due importance in the academic syllabus of the University. One of the founders, Professor Sudhiranjan Das, was an eminent archaeologist in his own right, having been trained by Mortimer Wheeler in the Taxila School. Prof. Niharanjan Ray, the noted historian and a co-founder regretted that to scholars of ancient Indian history, numismatists and epigraphists, archaeology has been a source for their ‘source materials’, their dependence being more on the discipline of philology and linguistics. It was to remedy these defects that a necessity was felt for a department solely devoted to archaeological pursuits. Till date this remains the only department in the country, standing singly, and not tagged with Ancient Indian History and Culture as is seen in other universities. Ever since its inception, the department has been conducting regular excavation programs of sites ranging from the prehistoric to the medieval period and thereby imparting field training to students. The prehistoric period is being worked upon systematically within a multi-disciplinary perspective. Excavations conducted in Ayodhya hills, Purulia have yielded the first absolute dates from any prehistoric site in the region. In epigraphic and paleographic studies major Pal inscriptions have been discovered and published. Besides, a complete annotated and classified table of all the 115 copper plate inscriptions of Bengal has been prepared. A major archaeological source book of Bankura, West Bengal has been published. A photographic archive of the sculptural art of Early medieval temples of Karnataka is being prepared. A ceramic analysis of early historical sites on the east coast is being pursued to understand cultural interactions.


Faculty Members :
Name Designation Area of specialisation Email/Phone number
Bishnupriya Basak
Assistant professor Prehistory, Archaeological theory, History of Indian Archaeology, Early history and archaeology of Vietnam
033 24624896
Rajat Sanyal
Assistant Professor Early medieval archaeology, North Indian Sanskrit Epigraphy, Buddhist archaeology
Kaushik Gangopadhyay
Assistant professor & HOD Proto and Early Historical Archaeology, Archaeometry, Ethnoarchaeology
Visiting faculty members :
Name Institutions attached with Period of appointment
Prof. K.P. Rao Central University, Hyderabad January 2011
Prof. Vasant Shinde Vice Chancellor, Deccan College, Deemed to be university 16th-18th March 2016

Courses :

Programme Level of study Eligibility Intake capacity
MA/M.SC Post graduate Honours in any of the following subjects: History, Geography, Anthropology, Sanskrit, Geology, Botany 27
Ph.D Doctoral RET According to seats available, changes from year to year in respect to vacancy available with individual teachers


Research scholars (2010 onwards) :
Name Research topic Name of the supervisor Date of registration
Abir Kumar Gorai History of the Midnapur: An Archaeological Study Dr Tapan Kumar Das 20.07.2012
Arabinda Singha Ray Archaeology of Lower Suvarnarekha Basin : A Study on Pre History and Proto History Dr Rajat Sanyal 21.06.2011
Bijan Mondal The Early Medieval Archaeology of the district of Murshidabad, West Bengal Dr. Swati Ray 13.07.2011
Debsmita Bonu Art and Architecture of Gadag District, Karnataka: A Socio-Religious Study Prof. Durga Basu 17.06.2013
Kaushik Sinha Spatial and Cultural Analyses of the Lithic Occurrences in Birbhum : A Study of sequential And Occupational Remains Prof.  Rupendra Kumar Chattopadhyay 07.01.2011
Keka Adhikari Sculptural Art of Chattisgarh : Historical Cultural and Stylistic Analysis Prof. Durga Basu 24.11.2010
Madhurima Bagchi Hero-Stones of Purulia- An Archaeological and Historical Study Dr. Bishnupriya Basak 26.06.2015
Malay Kumar Sian Archaeology of the Pre Islamic Malda and West Dinajpur Prof. Rupendra Kumar Chattopadhyay 25.04.2012
Niladri Kumar Gunin Parvati Images in Eastern India (Early Medieval Period) Prof. Durga Basu 22.04.15
Pampa Biswas The Vajrayana Form in Eastern India : A Study of its Art and Archaeology Dr. Swati Ray 13.07.2011
Priyanka Mandal Prehistoric Settlement Pattern in the South Koel River, Sundargarh District, North Western Orissa, India Dr. Bishnupriya Basak 04.02.2015
Rajashree Biswas Secular Architecture of Ganga Valley—A Study on the basis of Excavated Sites Prof. Dr. Durga Basu 27.07.12
Rajib Sikdar Reconstruction of the Cultural History of the Region Comprising the Kumari Kangsavati river Vallies : An Archaeological Study Dr Tapan Kumar Das 20.06.2012
Ramu Kumar Das Public Participation in Archaeology: A Case Study of Eastern Indian Cultural Heritage Dr. Sachindra Sekhar Biswas 16.06.2015
Sanchari Biswas Medieval Archaeology of Malda District Prof. Dr. Durga Basu 22.05.14
Soumendra Nath Misra Pratnatattva Aloke Nimno Gangeo Upottaka Saptagram-Hooghly O Tadsanlagno Anchal: Madhya Jugiyo O Prak-Adhunik Kalin Akti Samiksha Prof. Rupendra Kumar Chattopadhyay 10.12.2014
Shubha Majumder Jaina remains of Ancient Bengal: A Study in Arcaheology, Art and Iconography Prof. Rupendra Kumar Chattopadhyay 13.07.2011
Subhashree Banik Monetary system of the Gupta Period as revealed the Study of Coin Hoards from Ganga Yamuna Valley Dr Sutapa sinha 13.07.2011
Tumpa Paul Ancient technology in Bengal: A Study on Archaeological Materials Pre and proto Historic Periods Dr. Rajat Sanyal 11.07.2012
Dr Sharmistha Chatterjee Re-evaluating the Early Medieval Archaeology of Dakshina Radha/Rarh with Special Emphasis on Ajay-Dwarakeswar Interfluve Area N.A. (funded by ICHR) February 2013-January 2015
Dr Kumkum Bandyopadhyay Archaeology, Art and Iconography: A Survey of the Plain and Plateau Regions of South Bihar N.A. (funded by ICHR) September 2013-August 2015
Dr Dipsikha Acarya Archaeological Understanding of the Baitarani and the Lower Brahmani River Valleys (Odisha): A Reconstruction of the Early Medieval Paradigm N.A. (funded by ICHR) June 2015-
Projects :
Project title Funding agency Principal investigator Duration Budget
“Interactions and exchange between India and Central Vietnam, 1st-10th c. CE” University Grants Commission under UPE Scheme Dr Bishnupriya Basak 2007-12 5,0,9000/-
“Understanding the prehistoric landscape—a holistic study of the microlithic sites of foothill region of Ayodhya hills, Purulia, West Bengal” Indian Council of Historical Research New Delhi Dr Bishnupriya Basak 2011-13 200,000/-
“Environmental and Ecological Change as Inferred from Copperplate Inscriptions of Early Bengal” Indian National Science Academy Dr Rajat Sanyal 2014-17 3, 12500/- (cont.)
‘Historical andArchaeological Study of  Cultural Interactions along the east coast of India, c. 300 BCE to 1300 CE Indian Council of Historical Research New Delhi Dr Kaushik Gangopadhyay 2013-15 2.50000/-
A photographic Archive of the Sculptural Art of Early Medieval Temples of Karnataka National Encouragement of young faculty-under UPE Scheme collaborative work Co-investigator, Durga Basu 2011-12 400, 000/-
Title of the programme Principal collaborator of the department Name and address of the collaborating institution Principal collaborator of the collaborating institution Duration of the programme
Prehistoric investigations in the Ayodhya hills, Purulia district, West Bengal Bishnupriya Basak 1. Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, 33 GMS Road, Dehradun 248001.
2. Department of Geography and Remote Sensing, Vidyasagar University, Medinipur,
West Medinipur 721102
Dr. Pradeep Srivastava   Dr. Ashis Kumar Paul 2014-
Thrust areas in teaching and research of the academic department :
  • Prehistory of the Indian subcontinent with special focus on Bengal
  • Early medieval Archaeology
  • Buddhist Archaeology
  • North Indian Sanskrit epigraphy
  • Art and architecture
  • Archaeometry
  • Development of Archaeology as a discipline in the colonial period; vernacular history and archaeology in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Bengal
  • Archaeological theory with special emphasis on landscape archaeology and hunter-gatherer studies
  • Early history and archaeology of Vietnam

Research support :

Name of the equipment Brief description Funding agency
Auto level An instrument essential for laying out a site for excavation. Could also be used for mapping a site University of Calcutta
Geographical Positioning System Radar (GPSR) Essential for any archaeological survey to fix the geo-coordinates, altitude. Could also be effectively used for mapping University of Calcutta
Major activities :
  • Organization of a regular series of special lectures from 2015 for MA/M.SC and Ph.D students.
  • Excavation of archaeological sites and exploration using new survey techniques

Additional information :

  • Syllabus [ Click Here ]
  • Consultancy
  • Drs. Bishnupriya Basak and Rajat Sanyal of the department were appointed Experts by the Governor of West Bengal to verify artefacts in the Indian Museum, 2008-14 and 2011-14 respectively.


Campus : Alipore (Shahid Kshudiram Siksha Prangan)

Address for communication : Department of Archaeology, 1 Reformatory Street, 7th Floor, Alipur Kolkata 700027