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JU organizes 10th Bench Mark series Lecture

JAMMU: 10th lecture of the Bench Mark Lecture under RUSA-Phase II was organized today on 'Recent Debates in Indian Pre-History Arising from Research in Tamil Nadu'.

The speaker was Prof. Shanti Pappu, an eminent archaeologist-cum historian of international repute.

Prof. Shanti Pappu spoke about the debates in Indian prehistory, based on recent research in this field, arising from recent archaeological, geochronological and other studies, set against the background of the story of human evolution.

Prof. Pappu, provided a brief introduction to the subject of prehistory and its relevance and significance in the modern context.

An introduction to the study of human evolution, climate change over the Pleistocene was also provided highlighting the richness and diversity of Indian prehistory.

The importance of the study of stone tools was highlighted, for which a short clip from videos of stone tool manufacture by Dr. Kumar Akhilesh of the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education(SCHE) served to depict the complexity and thought involved in this process.

The second half of the talk highlighted recent research in Tamil Nadu, directed by S.Pappu and K.Akhilesh and their team that has led to new discoveries as regards early Lower and Middle Palaeolithic cultures of India.

New paradigms on prehistoric behavioural strategies, on the chronology of occupation of these populations in India, and on past environments were discussed.

The third part of the talk dealt with issues in heritage management of prehistoric sites, where her team, used satellite remote sensing data along with field studies to map impacts on prehistoric sites arising from modern land use and to suggest remedies for conservation.

She also highlighted efforts of the SCHE in public archaeology, especially for children and teachers, to bring prehistory alive through workshops, museum programs, and traveling exhibitions and online.

The Lecture was presided over by Vice Chancellor, Prof. Manoj Dhar who expressed his gratitude by welcoming the speaker on behalf of the University of Jammu.

The presidential remarks were made by Prof.R.K.Ganjoo. He spoke about the importance of archaeology and in this context he said that Archaeology has two of the greatest advantages. It has the unique capability of stretching back to the remotest eras of human existence and drawing the hitherto unknown out of the darkness of time.

Secondly, archaeology deals in tangible relics and therefore it can claim credibility that no other human sciences can.

Therefore, archaeology's efforts can cast much needed light upon present day's issues with identity and possession. He however also lamented the general lack of interest among students to study archaeology.

Earlier, Prof. Shyam Narayan Lal, Head of the Department of History, introduced the guest speaker and Ranjeet Kalra, teaching faculty, UGC-HRDC offered the welcome address .

The vote of thanks was presented by Neha Sharma.

The lecture was attended by academic fraternity of the university, scholars, students and members of civil society.

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