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VVIK Indology Lecture on Pāṭaliputra, by Dr. Daniela De Simone

  • Dr. Daniela De Simone
Thursday 17 December 2015
Lecture series Society of Friends of the Kern Institute (VVIK)

Pāṭaliputra: New Research into the Capital of the Mauryan Empire

Pāṭaliputra, seat of the Mauryan dynasty (ca. 321-185 BCE) and capital of the first Indian empire, was identified with modern Patna, Bihar in the second half of the 19th century, after a century-long search. Excavations started in the 1890s and went on, discontinuously, until the end of the 1950s. Remains of wooden structures (a defensive wall and what appear to be water pipelines) were unearthed at different sites around Patna, along with a stone pillared hall that was discovered at Kumrahar, a suburb of the city. Several antiquities, including terracotta figurines, punch-marked coins and inscribed seals, were recovered during excavations.

Based on a new analysis of the archival materials of the British Library in London and of the Archaeological Survey of India in New Delhi, and on fieldwork in Patna, and integrated by the results of recent excavations in the Ganges Valley, the lecture will present an updated interpretation of the archaeological evidence emerged at Patna/Pāṭaliputra that points to a Mauryan date.

Daniela De Simone is an archaeologist. She excavated at the Aśokan site of Gotihawa as a member of the Italian Archaeological Mission to Nepal, was a consultant for UNESCO New Delhi and worked as Project Manager for Restoration Works International.

She obtained her PhD in South Asian Studies from the Univeristy of Naples “L’Orientale” in 2012. Her research interests focus on late Prehistoric and early Historic archaeology of the Middle Ganga Plain, particularly that of early cities and Buddhism.

She is currently Affiliated Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden where she is working on a catalogue of the Mauryan antiquities of Pāṭaliputra.

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