Heritage and Local Communities: Challenges for Archaeologists in South Asia

Join archaeologists Supriya Varma and Jaya Menon from Azim Premji University, Bhopal for this session.

Humanities Seminar 27 Jan

For too long archaeologists have constructed narratives, and all too frequently without involving the local communities. Yet over the last few decades, attempts are being made to engage local communities in the development of heritage sites. 

What strategies should archaeologists in South Asia develop to forge connections between heritage narratives and local communities? Often, there are multiple even conflicting perspectives amongst local communities. 

In this paper, an attempt is made to navigate this difficult terrain at the heritage site of Mandu in Central India. Most of the residents comprise Bhils, yet the dominant narratives seem to have no place for them. 

How can archaeologists enable counter-narratives and representations so that these subordinated groups can claim a more inclusive past?