Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

In news: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ASI

Mains level: Not Much

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to form a special committee to trace and certify 24 protected monuments that have gone “missing”.

Why in news?

  • PMO has in a report last month said there was an urgent need to “rationalise” the list of monuments of national importance.

Sites in news

  • Barakhamba Cemetery temple ruins, Mirzapur (UP) dating to 1000 AD
  • Kos Minars – one at Faridabad’s Mujesar and
  • Inchla Wali Gumti at Mubarakpur Kotla in the capital

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) 

  • Founded by Alexander Cunningham, who is also revered as the “Father of Indian Archaeology”
  • He was the protege of James Prinsep.
  • It was Lord Canning who helped pass a statute for ASI’s establishment in 1861.
  • Post-Independence, it is a Statutory body that now works under Ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains act (AMASR Act), 1958.
  • It works as an attached Office of the Ministry of Culture.
  • ASI has 3678 protected monuments and Archaeology sites of National Importance + 29 cultural under the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

Initiatives by ASI

  1. Museums
  • ASI’s museums are customarily located right next to the sites that their inventories are associated with “so that they may be studied amid their natural surroundings and not lose focus by being transported”.
  • A dedicated Museums Branch maintains a total of 44 museums spread across the country.
  1. Publications by ASI
  • Epigraphia Indica
  • Ancient India
  • Indian Archaeology: A Review (Annually)
  1. Library
  • Central Archaeological Library in the National Archives building in Janpath, New Delhi


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