NIAS Wednesday Discussion: "Some Ethnoarchaeological Aspects of Nilgiris" by Sharada Srinivasan, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 0930 hrs

NIAS Wednesday Discussion


“Some Ethnoarchaeological Aspects of Nilgiris”



Sharada Srinivasan

Professor & Dean, School of Humanities, NIAS


Chairperson:  Smriti Haricharan, Assistant Professor, School of Humanities, NIAS,              


12th July, 2017, 9.30 am, Lecture Hall, NIAS


Abstract:  The Nilgiris represent a rich bio-diverse region, constituting of the Western Ghats in western Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala states in Southern India. The communities of Todas, Badagas, Kotas and Kurumbas have inhabited the region for centuries and represent a wealth of intangible heritage. This talk touches upon the various aspects of material culture and metal usage by the communities; especially blacksmithy. The people and landscape of Nilgiris exhibit intriguing aspects of material culture, its relationship with archaeological and historical past. The Todas are associated with the pastoral occupation of dairy and cattle rearing, whereas the Kotas are skilled craftsmen. The communities of Todas and Kurumbas have also been associated with the megalithic burial cults of Nilgiris.  In 1800s few vessels from the Nilgiri cairns revealed 20-25% tin-bronze content upon analysis. Such high-tin bronze artefacts were believed to be imported, as the local tradition of high-tin bronze workmanship had not been taken into consideration. The evidence from field exploration undertaken by Prof. Srinivasan and Mr. Digvijay Mallah, along with the material analysis clearly indicates long-standing and continuing metalcraft tradition from prehistory into the medieval period and the present day. The talk aims to establish the inter-relationship and influences of indigenous communities with the material culture, landscape and heritage.


About the Speaker: Prof. Sharada Srinivasan is the Dean of the School of Humanities at NIAS. She has a PhD in archaeometallurgy from University College, London; MA from SOAS, London and BTech in engineering physics from IIT, Mumbai. Her research interests range from archaeological science, metallurgy and materials characterisation of ancient artefacts and its implications on history of arts and crafts to performing arts. She is also an acclaimed Bharata Natyam dancer and has performed at various national and international events.


All are cordially invited

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For further info, please contact Sangeetha Menon [ or] and D. Suba Chandran [], Coordinators of NIAS Wednesday Discussion Meetings, and NIAS Discussion Reports.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017