MPhil/PhD in Archaeology (NIAS) 

The programme emanated out of the UKIERI Pioneering Metallurgy Archaeometallurgical Survey, a joint venture in 2009-11 between the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter and NIAS.  This provided a supportive platform for advancement of the research initiated under the aegis of the UKIERI project and brought experts and the students from UK and India under a single umbrella in order to achieve a world-class research output.

Students will study and undertake fieldwork between the Exeter and NIAS campuses.  Having co-supervisors between the two institutions is considered a tremendous opportunity for students. The student cohort travel to India to work with their co-supervisors at NIAS and conduct fieldwork, which will mean new survey and exploration in rural Andra Pradesh.

Current Students

‌Supervisors: Professor Bruce Bradley (UoE) and Professor Anindya Sinha (NIAS)

Project Title: Study of Cognitive Implications on Stone tool Technology of the Belan, Son and Middle Ganga Valleys, India, from circa 60kyr – 10 kyr

Research Summary: The aim of this research is to define the cognitive template of the toolmakers of the Belan, Son and Middle Ganga valleys in northern India in the Late and Terminal Pleistocene, on the basis of the evidence of operational sequences on the artifacts while using experimentally manufactured specimens as analogues.
The detailed study of the operational sequence will be able to decode the intangible records of the state of hominin cognition and technology in that time period. It is important to mention here that the results will be comparable to other cognitive data in similar domains, but will, in no way, seek any universality. Such data will, nevertheless, be an important knowledge repository of a particular stage of hominin cognitive development and occupy a valuable position in any ultimate attempt to synthesis the different trajectories of cognitive evolution in human history.

Benefits of NIAS-Exeter Programme: The University of Exeter and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) both provide me with the best possible training, guidance and support in prehistoric lithic tools and cognitive studies; essential aspects of this research. Academically, these two are one of the best departments in the world right now in the respective domains.
Moreover, this programme allows me with a maximum possible mobility and flexibility which is crucial for archaeological researches. It gives me the opportunity to learn more about my field from international experts and get useful feeds from peers across the globe. Most importantly, this programme is fundamentally very interdisciplinary, providing you the scope and encouragement to venture new ideas and conduct original research.

S‌upervisors: Dr. Gill Juleff (UoE) and Professor Sharada Srinivasan (NIAS)

Project Title: Cultural, Technological and Ideological Exchange: Sri Lanka - South India Interaction from a Personal Adornment Perspective during the Proto-historic to Early Historic Periods.

Summary of Research: Sri Lanka's proximity to India is not merely geographical but undeniably cultural as well. South India is the nearest neighbor to Sri Lanka, and relations between the two areas are age old. Over simplified reading of historical documentation suggests Sri Lanka's relations with South India have been unfriendly and invasive, as opposed to traditionally cordial relations with North India. However, it is inevitable that underlying this documented political scenario, there existed a close relationship and a shared culture between the two regions. Where the Material culture offers an alternative view that illustrates this symbiotic cultural exchange and objects of personal adornment act as a major entry point that could provide an insight to the cultural, technological and ideological exchanges that have taken place between the two regions during the time period I am studying. This project will therefore attempt to understand the nature and patterns of cultural, technological and ideological interaction by critically re-evaluating textual evidence and integrating such evidence with that of material culture.

Benefits of the NIAS-Exeter programme: In the present global power structure Asia is now in the limelight and India is one of the two main powers in the region. Thus, interest in research related to South Asian history, culture and archaeology has risen in interest and holds potential. At such a time the NIAS/Exeter collaborative project provides an essential platform for those who seek to pursue this stream of research, whether British or Indian or any national whose interest lies in shedding light on various aspects of Indian culture and archaeology. This programme increases its potential in strengthening the much important area of inter-disciplinary studies.

As a student from Sri Lanka, this programme has given me the opportunity to not only experience and gain expertise from the western world, which would in return aid the development of academia of my homeland. In addition this is a platform which would enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between Sri Lanka and India, South India in particular. Furthermore, it has enabled collaboration of experts from both India and Britain.

‌Supervisors: Dr Linda Hurcombe (UoE) and Professor Sharada Srinivasan (NIAS)

Project title: Connecting the Dots with Rock Art: A regional study of rock art sites in South India to identify cultural interaction between humans and the landscape.​

Research summary: At the moment I have been recording petroglyph bruisings at the site of Maski in Northern Karnataka, South India. I have been looking at what they depict and where they are located in the landscape in terms of both natural and archaeological features. 

Benefits of the programme: The Exeter-NIAS programme has enabled me to build connections with a vast number of international research scholars. I have been able to benefit from their wealth of expertise and perspectives. The Exeter-NIAS programme has also enabled me to conduct international fieldwork and navigate the logistical procedures involved in doing so.

Supervisory Staff

Bruce Bradley is Professor of Prehistory and has extensive experience with Stone Age technologies and experimental archaeology. His current areas of research deal with the early peopling of the New World, prehistoric Pueblo archaeology of the American Southwest and skill learning and cognition in hominins. Bruce is also active in bringing his archaeological and anthropological interests to the public through presentations, teaching, interaction with Native American communities and participation in documentaries.

+44 (0)1392 262490

Gill Juleff is an archaeo-metallurgist specialising in early ferrous technology (the archaeology of iron). Gill combines field investigation with laboratory-based analysis to examine early technological development within its social and environmental context. Her main research areas are in Sri Lanka and India where she is engaged in two research projects, Monsoon Steel and Pioneering Metallurgy. Further afield, Gill’s research encompasses early iron production across South and Southeast Asia. In England, Gill has directed the Exmoor Iron project for a number of years, which is examining early iron production on Exmoor.

+44 (0)1392 264470

Linda Hurcombe has broad interests in artefacts and material culture studies. She is especially interested in ethnographies of craft traditions, the sensory worlds of prehistoric societies and the manner in which archaeologists and anthropologists approach artefact studies. She has also worked on gender and material culture, and explored function as a concept as well as conducting functional analysis of stone tools via wear traces. Her research is characterised by the extensive use of experimental archaeology and ethnographies, providing a detailed practical understanding of how materials can be transformed into material culture.

+44 (0)1392 724347

News Stories

India-Exeter partnership goes from strength to strength

The College of Humanities welcomed Professors Narendar Pani, Anindya Sinha, Sharada Srinivasan, Carol Upadhya, and Dr Smriti Haricharan from Bangalore's National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), on a recent visit.

From archaeometallurgy in Telangana to flashmobs in Delhi: Exeter-NIAS postgraduate programme continues to thrive.

Earlier this year staff from the College of Humanities and the International Office travelled to the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore to participate in a review of student’s progression as part of an annual series of meetings to discuss the ongoing development of the Exeter-NIAS split-site postgraduate degree programme.

Archaeology and Drama departments receive delegation from India as alliance with National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore matures

The College was delighted to host a delegation of esteemed colleagues from the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore last week. The group visited the College as part of an annual series of meetings to discuss the ongoing development of the Exeter-NIAS split-site postgraduate degree programme.

Exeter welcomes India's National Institute of Advanced Studies

The University of Exeter was delighted to welcome Professor VS Ramamurthy, Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore, and senior colleagues for a three-day visit earlier this week. Professor Ramamurthy was joined by Professor S Settar, Professor S Ranganathan and Dr Sharada Srinivasan.

Humanities split-site PhD project spans across UK and India

An exciting new initiative within the Departments of Archaeology and Drama is going from strength to strength, as an inaugural group of students and supervisors assemble for the first time in Exeter. 

College of Humanities to develop PHDs with the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore

The College of Humanities has been awarded two UK India Education Research Initiative grants to develop split site PhDs, in Archaeology and Drama, with the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore, India. 

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