The history of civilization is in many fascinating ways linked to the narrative of the use of metals in antiquity. The use and discovery of metals progressed in the order of the ease of identification and extraction. Drawing from her original researches in archaeometallurgy or the study of metals heritage, the speaker would touch upon the highlights of metallurgical developments in the subcontinent. These range from the tiniest cast figurine of the Mohenjodaro dancing girl, c 2500 BCE, to the largest life-size 6th century metal icon of the Buddha from Sultanganj; from the grandeur of the celebrated 10th century Nataraja bronze, still cast today in Thanjavur area; from exotic metal mirrors from Kerala to tribal dhokra casting. The talk would touch upon some of the skilled metallurgical processes from the Delhi Iron pillar famed as the ‘rustless wonder’ to the intriguing high-grade wootz steel, and from Indian primacy in zinc smelting to the elegant decorative Bidri ware.
About the Speaker:
Sharada Srinivasan, Padmashri Awardee in 2019, and Professor at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru is elected International Honorary Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021. She has over 70 papers in archaeometallurgy in international publications of Journal of Metals, Materials and Manufacturing Processes, Archaeometry, BAR Series, Encyclopedia of Non-Western Science, World Archaeology, Journal of Historical Metallurgy, IJHS Journal etc. A recipient of the Dr Kalpana Chawla Young Scientist Award and Indian Institute of Metals Excellence Award, she has a PhD in Archaeometallurgy from Institute of Archaeology, UCL London and BTech in Engineering Physics from Indian Institute of Technology, Powai. She is first author of the popular archaeo-science book ‘India’s Legendary Wootz Steel’.