The purpose of the course is to provide History students with a descriptive, chronological account of the earliest periods of South Asian history. The course will also introduce students to primary sources — archaeological, textual and inscriptional — and the ways in which archaeologists and historians study and interpret them in order to reconstruct the past. These are fundamental concepts that students will build upon in subsequent courses.
This course will survey a time period from the earliest peopling of the subcontinent upto the 4th century CE. Some of the important themes in archaeology and history that we will explore are: the beginnings of agriculture, the foundations of the earliest cities, the growth of complex political systems including early states and empires; and the role of inter-regional interaction throughout this period.