Please Wait...

Excavations In Swat And Explorations In The Oxus Territories Of Afghanistan (Memoirs of Archaeological Survey of India)

Excavations In Swat And Explorations In The Oxus Territories Of Afghanistan (Memoirs of Archaeological Survey of India)
Item Code: NAW954
Author: Evert Barger And Philip Wright
Language: English
Edition: 1999
Pages: 79 (12 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details: 11.00 X 8.50 inch

IT is indeed a great pleasure to me to be able to include in the series of Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, a work embodying the report of the British Expedition to the Swat Valley and northern Afghanistan in the summer of 1938. This Expedition was supported by several Societies in England and led by Professor Barger of the University of Bristol and Mr. Wright of the Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and, let me hope, is the forerunner of many similar expeditions, indicative of Britain's newly awakened scientific interest in Indian studies. Archeology in India has such a wide range and limitless scope that it is bound to provide ample material to generations of scholars. It was with a view to open the field of work to non-official workers, whether from India or outside, that an amendment of the . Ancient Monuments Preservation Act was passed by the Legislature in 1933. The only Expedition from outside which has since taken advantage of the new conditions was an American one sponsored by the collaboiation of the Boston Museum and the Institute of Indic and Iranian studies which itself represents the concentrated effort of all American Societies interested in India. Unfortunately the work begun under the experienced leadership of Dr. Mackay was discontinued after the first season's work mainly for financial reasons. It is time that Britain, the only European country vitally interested in India, took lead in the matter and successfully organized Indian stubies and conducted exploration and excavation activities in India. Over two decades ago the Royal Asiatic Society of London perceiving the great importance of Nalanda in the history of later Buddhism urged on the Department the necessity of excavating the ruined stupas and monasteries. What is more; they made a special grant, which enabled the Department to initiate the work, which has been continued thereafter from the Department's own resources. In the new conditions, regular expeditions organized on lines similar. to Mr. Barger's Expedition who may count on receiving every help and collaboration from the Archaeological Survey, may undertake special investigations, which are sure to redound to the credit of British Oriental scholarship.

The territories which were chosen by the Barger Expedition for their work during 1938, were the Swat valley and the Oxus region of Afghanistan, both of which are in several ways intimately connected with India in . several epochs of Indian History. The region of the Swat (the Vedic Suvastu) was surveyed by Sir Aurel Stein, whose researches have already been published in a Memoir in this series. The work done by the present Expedition, however, in the region of Barikot, particularly at Amluk. Gumbat and Abarchinar, has added considerably to our, knowledge. In the difficult region north of the Hindukush the exploratory survey was only possible owing to the' generous co-operation of the French Savants and the help of the Afghan authorities, and the Expedition's work has broken altogether new ground, which may be immensely helpful to explorers who will follow in their track. It is hoped that Professor Barger's wish that he might return to the ' stern but fascinating country ' forming the scene of his present labours, and again ' feel the dust of history under his feet ' will be consummated before long.


THIS Memoir is an account of the work of a British expedition which spent the Summer of 1938 in excavating a number of sites in the Swat Valley and in making an archaeological reconnaissance in the Oxus territories of Afghanistan. The expedition, a party of four, was supported by a number of learned societies in England, and the publication of this volume by the Government of India as one of this series is due to the kindness of the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey, Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, who must not, however, be held responsible for the views expressed or conclusions reached.

The main object of this short expedition was to pave the way for further British work on the Indian Frontier and beyond. Whatever the value of the material brought back on this occasion, it is satisfactory to record that it has contributed, in some measure, to a revival of interest in Indian and Central Asian studies in 'England, and that there is some prospect of this being the first of a series of campaigns, for which a representative committee is now being formed and is shortly to become responsible.

Preliminary. reports of the expedition described here in detail were published in the form of papers read by members of the party to the Royal Geographical Society (Geographical Journal, May, 1939), the Royal Society of Arts (Journal R. S. A., 9th December, 1939), the Royal Central Asian Society (Journal R. C. A. S., April, 1939) and the India Society (Indian Art and Letters, April, 1940) ; photographs of the' sites and finds appeared in the Illustrated London News of December 24th, 1938 (Swat), and April 22nd, 1939 (Afghanistan). We are indebted to Royal Geographical Society for permission to reproduce the map of Afghanistan from the map of Central Asia drawn by the Society's draughtsman to illustrate the lecture which I delivered before the Society. The finds of the Expedition were placed on special exhibition in the Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum during the Spring months of 1939, and the greater part of them have since been acquired by the Museum and added to its permanent collection. Other objects have been acquired by the Indian Institute at Oxford and by provincial museums.

Any list of acknowledgments to those who, at home or in the field, helped to make the undertaking possible, must necessarily be long, but cannot be exhaustive. As the first British archaeologists to enter Afghanistan, we received a warm welcome from the Afghan Government, and it is impossible to speak too warmly of the kindness and hospitality of the Afghan officials in outlying parts of the country. For these exceptional facilities we were especially grateful to H. R. H. Sirdar Muhammad Nair, Khan, the Afghan Minister of Education, and to H. E. Sirdar Faiz Muhammad Khan, the Afghan Foreign Minister, himself a scholar, who took a keen interest in our researches. Since 1922 the Freach Government have had a concession for archaeological work in Afghanistan, and we were therefore under a deep obligation to M. Joseph Hackin, the present Head of the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan, for supporting our project in a generous spirit of Anglo-French collaboration. The Wali of Swat not only gave us permission to work in his territory, but put the resources of his State at our disposal, and we shall not easily forget the kindness and solicitude for our comfort which he and his officials showed us. A party of archaeologists might well have appeared an embarrassment to the Government of the North--West Frontier Province at a time which was one of political disturbance in parts of their territories, and we remember the more gratefully the facilities which they granted to us, and .the help given in particular by Mr. A. D. F. Dundas, C.I.E., I.C.S., Chief Secretary to the Frontier Government, and Major E. H. Cobb, O.B.E., Political Agent, Dir, Swat and Chitral.

An expedition must have a base, and it was a source of satisfaction that the authorities of the Victoria and Albert Museum for the first time found it within their province to support an: archaeological expedition, both by giving ' special leave .to enable Wright to join the party, and in many other ways. My friend Mr. k. de B. Codrington, the Keeper of the Indian Section, put his unrivalled knowledge at our disposal both before and after the expedition. He was a ready counsellor, and no matter connected with- the expedition, its plans, its equipment, or its finds was too large or too small for him to give it his time and attention. I am also indebted to my colleague in the University of Bristol, Lt.-Col. O. D. Kendall, of the Department of Geography, for much help and advice, and also to Sir Eric Teichman, K.B.E., Mr. Robert Byron, Dr. T. Burrow, of the British Museum, and Lt.-Col. F. O. Lorimer.

Our warmest thanks are due to the Royal Geographical Society, to the Royal society of Arts, . and to Professor W. T. Semple, of the University of Cincinnati. for financial assistance, and also to the Royal Geographical Society for the loan of instruments. I am under a personal obligation to the University of Bristol for special leave of absence, and to my Senior colleagues, Professor R. B.. Mowat and Mr. C. M. Maclnnes, for generous help and encouragement.

We would like to express our appreciation of the constant interest which the Secretary of State for India, the Most Hon. the Marquess of Zetland, G.C.S.J., • G.C.I.E., has taken in this .work.. A number 'of scholars .have also given valuable advice and encouragement, among them Professor Alfred Foucher, Sir John Marshall, C.I.E., F.B.A., Professor Kenneth Mason, Professor Ellis Minns, F.B.A., Professor V. Minorsky, Mr. F. J. Richards, Sir Aurel Stein, K.C.I.E., F.B.A., Mr. John de la Valette and Dr. Mortimer Wheeler.

Of those who helped us in the field, we have a particular debt of gratitude to Lt.-Col. 'Sir Kerr Fraser-Tytler, K.B.E., C.M.G., H. M. Minister at Kabul, and Lady Fraser-Tytler. We wish also to take this opportunity of acknowledging the kindness of M. Ahmed Ali Khan Khozard, the Director of the Historical Section of the Afghan Academy, Major-General H. L. Houghton, C.M.G., C.I.E., Lt.-Col. , D. H. Gordon, D.S.O., O.B.E., Major A. Lancaster, late H. M. Military Attaché at the British. Legation at Kabul, M. Dilawar Khan, Curator of the Peshawar Museum, Dr. N. Macpherson, of the C. M. S. Mission Hospital at Peshawar, Mr. K. A. Gai, and Mr. W. H. I. Stevens, who were among those who helped us in different ways.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Add a review

Your email address will not be published *

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Post a Query

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Related Items