Documenting the History

Archaeological monuments of Kashmir is a fresh and updated documentation of the archaeological sites of Kashmir under taken by Iqbal Ahmad, a learned archaeologist  of the Jammu and Kashmir state. The author has earlier documented the Kashmir’s ancient coins and epigraphs, under the two different  titles, Kashmir coins,  and Kashmir inscriptions  respectively. This time author has made an elaborate documentation of the archaeology sites of Kashmir valley and published its first chapter under the title, archaeological monuments of Kashmir- the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Buddhist and Hindu period.

The author has got the technical knowhow and experience in deciphering of the archaeological artifacts and has been undertaking the archaeological researches on more scientific and logistic basis. But  more interesting is   the fact that the author  has been undertaking such difficult researches on his own. “Archaeology has been my passion and I am doing these researches on my own without any financial and technical support”, says the author. Working in the SPS Museum since 1990 the author got the chance to observe the Kashmir’s cultural past very keenly. He also endorses the fact and says, “it was my good luck to work in a world class museum like SPS Museum, which is 130 years old, where I got the access to study Kashmir cultural past, besides the timely interactions with the tourists of the intellectual taste helped me to learn the authorship”.

In this forthcoming monogram, the author deals with the Kashmir archaeology and has documented   about thirty monuments of the Palaeolithic ,  Neolithic, Buddhist and Hindu period.  In his illustrated work, it carries 76 illustrations of the archaeological sites with the Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites. The terracotta pavements and remains of the ancient stone monasteries and temples are also incorporated with minor architectural and archaeology details.

Interestingly the author has dedicated this work to one of his teachers, late Professor Fida Mohammad Hassnian, the historian and ex Director Archives, Research and Museums Jammu  and Kashmir state, posthumously.

In fact there was a time when the archaeological wealth of Jammu and Kashmir State was confined to the literary records, centered upon Sanskrit and its ancient literature, foreign travel accounts. Much was spoken of the religions edifices of high grandeur and sanctity, but in absence of any archaeological researches, these sources lacked the chronological order. The history and civilization of ancient Jammu and Kashmir was, therefore over emphasized presenting a series of perplexing contrasts and problems.

But nowadays the things have almost changed; the archaeological studies have been taken up with more accuracy and scientific approach. The most of the perplexed questions bearing on our historiography have been attended to by the archaeology researchers. The pioneer work in the rediscovery of the state’s past was done by the European archaeologists, but later on the local archaeologists also learned the subject and got involved in the systematic archaeological explorations and excavations. A lot of useful and reliable information on the archaeological sites, ancient monuments, ancient sculptures, terracotta, coins and epigraphs has been  collected and investigated, which not only helped the historians  to undertake the reconstruction of states ancient history but also  enabled  the state institutions to showcase their rich cultural heritage.     

Although archaeological discoveries were being made, and plenty of artifacts were exhumed from the archaeological sites, still the task of identification, deciphering and documentation of this heritage has been very slow. In fact the archaeological artifacts are the pages of our history and culture but only when these artifacts are properly studied and interpreted. 

As such the task of documentation of the archaeology materials is very essential. The documentation of archaeological sites and artifacts means documentation of our history which needs to be encouraged at every step.