The Department of Archaeology, premier centre for teaching and research in archaeology in South Asia was founded by the late Professor H.D. Sankalia in 1939. This department pioneered in the development of research in Palaeolithic Archaeology, Protohistoric Archaeology and Scientific Archaeology in India. At present we have experts in Ancient Indian History, Culture, Prehistory, Protohistory, Medieval Archaeology and related branches of Cultural and Biological Anthropology, Geoarchaeology, Palaeontology, Archaeobotany, Palaeopalynology, Archaeozoology, Archaeological Chemistry and Computer Science.
Since its beginning, a large number of field-based research programs were undertaken in various parts of the country. Some of the major excavations are as follows:
Palaeolithic – Chirki, Morgaon, (Maharashtra); Bhimbetka, Samnapur, Tikoda (Madhya Pradesh); 16 R Didwana, Singhi Talav (Rajasthan), Anagwadi, Hunsgi, Isampur (Karnataka)
Protohistoric and Historic- Nevasa, Inamgaon, Naikund, Mahurjhari, Chaul, Kolhapur, Daulatabad, Junnar etc (Maharashtra); Navdatoli, Kayatha, Tripuri (Madhya Pradesh); Somnath, Kuntasi, Kotada Bhadli, Prabhas Patan, Padri (Gujarat); Ahar, Bagor, Balathal, Gilund (Rajasthan); Farmana, Girawad, Mitathal, Rakhigarhi, Karsola (Haryana); Budihal, Tekkalkota, Hallur (Karnataka); Sisupalgarh, GolbaiSassan, Harirajpur (Odisha)
The thrust areas of the Department are Ancient Indian History, Culture, Prehistory, Protohistory, Historical and Medieval Archaeology, Cultural and Scientific Archaeology. The Department approaches archaeology from a multidisciplinary perspective and has sophisticated laboratory facilities.
This is the only University Department of Archaeology in the entire country which has well equipped laboratories under one roof for Archaeological Sciences such as Chemistry, Palynology, Archaeozoology, Archaeobotany, Biological Anthropology, Geoarchaeology, Sedimentology, Palaeontology, Physical Chemistry, X-Ray Diffraction and Computing. These laboratories carry out scientific analysis of archaeological remains recovered from various excavations. Their services are extended to other institutions in the country including the Archaeological Survey of India and State Departments of Archaeology.
The Department has a very strong doctoral research programme. The topics cover all branches of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology on all India basis. 256 Ph.D. Dissertations have been completed since 1944.
In view of the excellent pioneering work carried out by the Department in the fields of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, the University Grants Commission granted to it the status of a Department of Special Assistance in 1972. This special status was upgraded to that of a Centre of Advanced Study in Archaeology in 1985. This status has been maintained by the Department till today. The Department was also selected by the UGC for implementation of Assistance for Infrastructure in Humanities and Social Sciences (ASIHSS) in 2003. From 2014, the Department has been upgraded to Centre of Advance Study in Archaeology (CAS-V) by University Grants Commission.