Prof. Vasant Shinde, presently Vice-Chancellor of Deccan College, Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Deemed University, Pune is a world renowned archaeologist and one of the foremost scholars in South Asia.
Prof. Vasant Shinde (born on 15th June 1956) obtained his B.A. in History from the University of Poona, and a Master’s Degree (First Class) in Archaeology from Deccan College, Deemed University (at that time affiliated to the University of Poona). He subsequently completed his Ph.D. in Protohistoric Archaeology on Early Settlements in Central Tapi Basin from the same University.
Prof. Shinde has been teaching the Post-Graduate course in Archaeology since 1982. In addition to being a Recognized Post-Graduate teacher and Research guide at Deccan College, Deemed University, University of Poona and Solapur University and EotvosLorand University of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, he has been also conducting teaching for the Post-Graduate Diploma course at the Institute of Archaeology, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, since 1991. In addition to his teaching activities, Prof. Shinde has also supervised a vast number of M.A. and Ph.D. research students. At present, 47 M.A. /PGD/M.Phil. students and 30 Ph.D. students have completed their research under his supervision, with several more currently receiving guidance or co-guidance from him. He has also provided guidance to no less than 15 Visiting Scholars from foreign countries.
Prof. Shinde has been a pioneer in archaeological research since the last 36 years, specialising in the Protohistory of South Asia as well as Field Archaeology. He has completed 16 major research projects, in the process of which he has collaborated with scholars and institutes from around the world, from Institutes such as the Universities of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the United States of America to Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the United Kingdom, to the International Research Center for Japanese Studies and Research Institute for Humanities and Nature (both in Kyoto, Japan), Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea, and so on.
He has also directed a vast number of excavations around the country, from Harappan sites in Gujarat and Haryana to Chalcolithic sites in Madhya Pradesh and the Deccan, to Protohistoric and Early historic Sites in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Presently, he has been directing a very prestigious International Research project at the largest Harappan site of Rakhigarhi in Haryana.
In the course of his research work, Prof. Shinde has also travelled to and delivered lectures in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Denmark, France, England, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Oman, Malaysia, China, Japan, South Korea, Turkmenistan and several other countries throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in North and Central America. He has also visited and worked with more than 15 international museums around the world, analysing material ranging from the Prehistoric to the Late Medieval Period. He has been awarded a number of honours and scholarships from various national and international bodies in the course of his Academic career, one of the most noteworthy one being 100 Most Influential Vice Chancellor by World Education Congress .
Professor Shinde has delivered no less than 160 special lectures in different parts of India, and 39 in Institutes abroad. He is a member of 17 National and International academic bodies. He has attended and presented his research in a large number of conferences in India and Abroad.
His contributions to Archaeology in India and abroad take the form of a large number of research papers, edited volumes and other publications, comprising 9 books, 10 edited books, 120 papers in national journals and 60 research papers in International journal alone, in addition to popular articles in magazines and other periodicals. He has pioneered research in several fields in India, such as initiating experiments in Flintknapping. Several crucial elements of South Asian archaeology, from hitherto unknown protohistoric cultural phases to models of urbanisation in Mewar, Rajasthan, owe their discovery to him. He has initiated several levels of International Collaboration with Institutes around the world, bringing Indian archaeology to a truly global level. He has established the Society of South Asian Archaeology (SOSAA) with a view to promoting young archaeologists and further global collaboration. He has also been actively involved in Public Archaeology and established groups in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana to protect the Cultural Heritage of the country and generate awareness of the same among the general public.
The Ghaggar basin in the northwest part of India is very often referred to as ancient Saraswati basin. Explorations and surveys carried out in this region have brought to light a large number of Harappan sites, of which very few have survived till date. Excavations carried out at selected sites have pushed back the beginning of the Harappan culture to around 5000 B.C. The available excavated data clearly indicates a gradual growth of the culture, which attain full organization by around 2600 B.C.E. Resent excavations at sites Bhirana, Farmana and Rakhigarhi have produced sufficient data on the regional diversity of the culture and a growth from pit dwelling to a well-planned city in this region. A large number of skeletal data has been excavated from Farmana and Rakhigarhi which have enabled our understanding about the burial custom in this region. Scientific studies on the human bones are revealing health, diet and composition of Harappan population. Data has been extracted for the first time for ancient DNA studies and facial reconstruction, which is underway. The presentation will showcase the new discoveries in the Ghaggar basin as well as changing perspectives of the understanding of Harappan culture.