Down Ancient Trails: Archaeology Forum

Down Ancient Trails is a forum of the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education for online discussions, workshops, lectures, and activities on topics related to archaeology and associated Quaternary sciences. It began with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, during which period we started a small online discussion group to exchange ideas and ongoing research amongst archaeologists. This gradually evolved into regular discussion meetings, short online courses and a lecture series, that we share with you here. Read more about it here in a blog for the Leakey Foundation and in this Antiquity editorial.   Check out links on the IPPA website.

Our YouTube channel is being updated. Do subscribe and like! 

Click here to read about important guidelines for participating.  

Team: Dr. Kumar Akhilesh, Director, SCHE;  Dr. Prachi B.Joshi, Dr. Paromita Bose, Ms. Sutonuka Bhattacharya (research interns); Prof. Shanti Pappu (Secretary).

Palaeoanthropology & Herd & Harvest Series: coordinated by Dr. Paromita Bose, Ms. Sutonuka Bhattacharya

Bones & Beyond, Palaeoanthropology & Quaternary science series: coordinated by Dr. Prachi B.Joshi (collaboration with Prof. V.Sathe, Dr. P. Chakrabarty);

Speakers: March 2020 * April 2020 *May 2020  June 2020 *  July 2020 *  August 2020 * September 2020 *  October 2020* November 2020  *December 2020 *January 2021* February 2021 * March 2021 * April 2021*


APRIL 2021

23rd April, 2021, 6:30 pm (IST).  Professor Simon Kaner, Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage, Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia. Topic: Prehistoric Japanese Stone circles – comparative perspectives.


APRIL 2021

Read more about our speakers for April

April 9th,  2021, 6.30 pm (IST). Professor Leore Grosman, Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Natufian culture - the harbinger of food producing societies. 

MARCH 2021

Read more about our speakers 

30th March, 7.00 pm (IST): Dr. Briana Pobiner, Paleoanthropologist and Educator, Human Origins Program, Smithsonian Institute and Associate Research Professor of Anthropology in the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology at the George Washington University. Topic: The role of scavenging animal foods in hominin diets.

19th March, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Herd and Harvest series: Dr. Oliver Harris, Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of Leicester. Topic: Assembling past worlds: materials, bodies and architecture in Neolithic Britain.

12th March, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Dr. Matthew Pope, UCL Institute of Archaeology, London, UK. Topic: The Boxgrove Horse Butchery Site: Reconstructing Short-Term Group Behaviour 480,000 years ago.

3rd March, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Herd and Harvest series: Professor Dorian Q. Fuller, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK. Topic: Domestication, Agricultural origins and civilization of the oven in Southwest Asia

6th March, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Herd and Harvest series: Dr. Tiatoshi Jamir, Department of History & Archaeology, Nagaland University Topic: Can we dismiss a case of early agriculture in the Naga Hills? Insights from on-going research in the Naga Metamorphics and adjoining regions.

12th March, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Dr. Matthew Pope, UCL Institute of Archaeology, London, UK.Topic:being updated.

19th March, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Herd and Harvest series: Dr. Oliver Harris, Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of Leicester. Topic: Assembling past worlds: materials, bodies and architecture in Neolithic Britain.

23rd March, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Dr. Briana Pobiner, Education Program Specialist (Human Origins), Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Topic:being updated.

February 2021

26th February, 2021, 8.30 pm (IST): Professor Frederick L. Coolidge, PhD. CU Presidential Teaching Scholar, Co-Director of Psychology Undergraduate Education, Psychology Department, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Topic:  The Evolution of Working Memory: What it is and How it got that Way.

28th February, 2021, 6.30 pm (IST): Dr Alastair Key, Lecturer in Biological Anthropology at the University of Kent. Topic: How an ergonomic understanding of Palaeolithic artefacts helps explain hominin behaviour and evolution


February 2021

19th February, 2021, 6.30 pm (IST):Herd & Harvest Series: Dr. Rakesh Tewari, former Director-General Archaeological Survey of India. Topic:  Early Farming Cultures of the Middle Ganga valley. 

7th February, 2021, 6.30 pm (IST): Herd and Harvest series: Dr. S.B.Ota, Former Joint Director-General, Archaeological Survey of India and Tagore National Fellow. Topic: Archaeology of Mountain Crossing and Human Adaptation in High Altitude Ladakh during Holocene.

9th February, 2021. Down Ancient Trails series:  Professor Mark Stoneking, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. Topic:  New Insights from Old DNA into the Settlement of the Pacific.

January 2021

30th January, 2021, 5.00 pm (IST): Herd & Harvest series: Dr. Queenbala Marak, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Meghalaya. Topic: Early Agriculture in Garo Hills: Clues from Ethnography. 

18th January, 2021, 8.30 pm (IST): Dr. Colin Wren, Assistant Professor of Archaeology at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Topic: Agent-based modelling human responses to climatic change at the Last Glacial Maximum

25th January, 2021, 6:30 PM (IST): Herd & Harvest series: Dr. Mumtaz Yatoo, Assistant Professor  (Archaeology), Centre of Central Asian Studies. University of Kashmir. Topic: Reconstructing Subsistence Practises of Kashmiri Neolithic. 

4-9th January, 2021: Bones & Beyond: Introduction to South Asian Pleistocene Fauna: lecture series jointly organised with Professor Vijay Sathe, former professor Deccan College PGRI, Pune, India, 4-9th January, 2021, 6.30-8.30 pm (IST) Click here to read more. 

December 2020

30th December, 2020 6.30 pm. Herd & Harvest series: Professor P. Ajithprasad, M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodra, Gujarat, India. Topic: Hunter-gatherer Transition and Gujarat.

24th December, 2020, 1.30 pm (IST). Herd & Harvest series: Professor Avi Gopher,The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv , Israel and Professor Shahal Abbo, The Levi Eshkol School of Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 7610001, Israel. The archaeology of plant domestication in the Levant and thoughts on the modern condition of man.

16th December, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST): Dr. Andrea Picin, postdoctoral researcher, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (Germany). Topic: Neanderthal settlement dynamics during the late Middle and Late Pleistocene in Central Europe.14th December, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST): Dr Jennifer Bates, Post Doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Anthropology, Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania. Topic: Using seeds to think about the past: diet, environment and the climate. 

9th December 2020, 6.30 pm(IST) Dr. Chad Hill, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. Topic: Archaeology and Drones: how flying robots are changing how we find and map the past. 

4th December 2020, 3.30 pm(IST).Dr. Annemieke Milks, Honorary Research Fellow at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, London. Topic:How multi-faceted approaches to Pleistocene spears have shifted narratives on human predation. 


30th November, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST).  Dr. Ajay Pratap, Professor (and former Head of Department) of History at Banaras Hindu University. Topic: Historicizing Vindhyan Rock Art

27th November, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST). Dr. Berkay Dinçer, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Istanbul University, Turkey Topic: Recent Developments in Turkish Lower and Middle Paleolithic23th November, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST). Dr. Dietrich Stout, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Anthropology, Emory University. Topic: Stone tools and human evolution: life in the technological niche. 

18th November, 6.30 pm (IST) Dr. Eleanor Scerri, Pan-African Evolution Research Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany and Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta, Malta. Topic: How West Africa is changing what we know about the deep human past.

16th November, 7.30 pm (IST) Dr. Pontus Skoglund, Ancient Genomics Laboratory, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK. Topic: Origins and Genetic Legacy of Prehistoric Dogs.

9th November, 2020, 11.00 am (IST) Professor Philip J. Piper, Secretary-General, Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA), Head of Archaeology / Convenor for Master of Archaeological & Evolutionary Science Program, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Topic: A New Species of Hominin from Callao Cave, Northern Luzon, Philippines.


30th October, 6.30 pm (IST) 2020: Professor P.K. Behera, Associate Professor, P.G. Dept. of History, Sambalpur University, Burla, Odisha, India. Topic: Provenance of Red Ochre Milling Stone from the Late Middle Palaeolithic Context at Torajunga, Bargarh Uplands, Odisha, India: Results of Preliminary Investigation.

22nd October, 11.30 am (IST). Professor  Chris Clarkson, Professor of archaeology and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Social Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Topic: The Implications of New Discoveries in Southeast Asia and Sahul for the Out of Africa Story.  *Please note that the timing is 11.30 am (IST)*

19th October, 2020,6.30 pm (IST) : Professor Rosalia Gallotti, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, CNRS, UMR 510 ASM. Topic: African Acheuleans: techno-economic behaviors in East Africa and Maghreb during the Early and early Middle Pleistocene. 

16th October, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST) : Dr. Saman Heydari-Guran, Stiftung Neanderthal Museum, Talstr. 300, 40822 Mettmann, Germany & Diyarmehr Institute for Palaeolithic Studies  Topic: Human evolution in the Zagros Mountains

9th October, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST) : Professor Maria Martinon-Torres, Director, CENIEH, Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos, Spain. Topic: The Atapuerca sites. Over one million years of hominin evolution in Europe

6th October, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST): Dr. Rebecca Wragg Sykes, Honorary Fellow in Archaeology at the University of Liverpool and Honorary Researcher at PACEA UMR-5199, Université de Bordeaux. Topic: Full Spectrum Neanderthals 


30th September. 6.30 pm (IST) Dr. Irit Zohar, Beit Margolin, Oranim Academic College, Kiryat Tivon, and Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Israel. Topic: Identifying the roots of the “Blue Revolution”: Early evidence for fish proto aquaculture and trade in the Levant  (This study was performed in the Institute of Geosciences, Johannes-Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany in collaboration with Dr. Guy Sisma-Ventura from the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa, Israel and, with Prof. Thomas Tütken from the Institute of Geosciences, Johannes-Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany)

28th September, 6.30 pm (IST). Professor Patrick S. Randolf Quinney, Associate Professor, Forensic & Biological Anthropology, Department of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle. Topic: The Past, Present and Future of Cave and Landscape Palaeoarchaeology at Makapansgat, South Africa

26th September, 6.30 pm (IST). Professor Atsushi Noguchi, Director-cum-Secretary General, NPO-JCSACH (Japanese Centre for South Asian Cultural Heritage), Tokyo, Japan. Topic: The Late Pleistocene Human Population History in the Japanese Archipelago.

16th September, 6:30 pm IST. Professor Miguel Vilar, Department of Anthropology University of Maryland, and Senior Program Officer, Human Journey, National Geographic Society. Topic: The Origins and Genetic Distinctiveness of the Mariana Islanders of Micronesia

15th September, 6.30 pm (IST), Professor Gonen Sharon, Multidisciplinary Studies, East Campus, Tel Hai College, Upper Galilee, Israel. Topic: Fishing for change – changing lifeways in changing environments during the Levantine Epipaleolithic

9th September, 6.30 pm (IST). Professor Sheila Mishra, , Retired Professor, Deccan College, deemed to be University, Pune, India. Topic: Constructing a “World Prehistory” in 2020.  


*Speakers: August 2020*

27th August, 2020. 6.30 pm (IST). Dr. Olaf Joris, senior researcher at MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz, Germany. Topic: Human Learning Environments in evolutionary context. 

August 19, 2020, 4.30 pm (IST). Dr. Radu Iovita, Department of Anthropology at New York University and in the Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology at the University of Tübingen. Topic: Reconstructing the Silk Road in the Pleistocene: new research from Kazakhstan.

August 17, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST): Professor Tom Higham, Professor of Archaeological Science, University of Oxford, and Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. Topic: What happened when Europe’s Neanderthals met Homo sapiens between 50-40,000 years ago?

August 11, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST). Professor Leore Grosman, Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Topic: Computational Archaeology - 3D Tools for Investigating Artifacts. 

August 10, 2020, 7 pm (IST): Professor Ran Barkai, Professor, Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University. Topic: The elephant in the handaxe: An ontological perspective.

JULY 2020 

*Speakers:July 2020*

July 31st, 6.30 pm (IST) Dr. James Cole, Principal Lecturer in Archaeology, School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton. Topic: A history of Investigations into the Stone Age site of Isimila, Tanzania.  

July 24th , 6.30 pm (IST) Dr. Joseba Rios Garaizar, Scientist / Curator Lithic Collection, Archeology Group, CENIEH (Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana), Technologist and traceologist, Excavation Director at Aranbaltza and Amalda III neandertal sites. Topic: Last Neandertal populations in Western Europe. 

July 22nd, 2020, 7.30 pm (IST). Professor Michael Chazan, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto. Topic:  The Kalahari and Human Evolution:  The view from Wonderwerk Cave and Kathu Complex. 

July 21st, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST). Professor Prakash Sinha, Professor in archaeology, Department of Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology, University of Allahabad, India. Topic: Piecing together production behavior cum cognition, movements and socio-economic life in the Northern Vindhyas and the Middle Ganga plains. 

July 15th, 2020, 10 am (IST). Dr. Arina M. Khatsenovich, Senior Researcher, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography,Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk. Topic: Paleolithic Crossroads: Hominin dispersals in eastern Central Asia. 

July 14, 2020, 10.30 am (IST): Professor Rick Potts, Peter Buck Chair in Human Origins and Director of the Human Origins Program, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. Topic: The Environmental Dynamics of East African Human Evolution. 

July 8, 2020,  6:30 pm (IST). Professor John Hawks, Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Topic: Latest research from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa. 

JUNE 2020 

*Speakers: June 2020 * 

June 25, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST), Dr. Matthew Pope,  UCL Institute of Archaeology, London. Topic: Neanderthal Adaptations on the Edge of their World: Evidence from La Cotte de St Brelade and the La Manche Palaeolandscape. MIS 8-3.  

June 21, 2020, 2 pm (IST), Dr. Sonia Shidrang, National Museum of Iran, Tehran. Topic: The Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic Transition in Zagros: Where do we stand?  

June 20, 2020, 6.00 pm (IST). Professor John Gowlett, Professor of Archaeology and Evolutionary Anthropology in the University of Liverpool. Topic: The unfolding archaeology of Kilombe Volcano, Kenya. 

June 19, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST) Dr. Patrick Roberts, Research Group Leader,  Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany. Topic: A novel Pleistocene niche for Homo sapiens?: Comparing the ecological and environmental contexts of our species and its closest relatives.

June 18, 2020, 3.30 pm (IST) Dr. Yossi Zaidner,Senior Lecturer of Prehistoric Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Topic: Misliya Cave, early Homo sapiens, and Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition in the Levant.

June, 15, 2020, 5 pm (IST) Professor Andy I.R. Herries,  Head of Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University, Australia. Topic: Human Evolution in southern Africa from the earliest occurrence of Homo erectus to modern humans: insights from the archaeological sites of Drimolen Cave and Amanzi Springs (South Africa). 

June 12, 2020, 6.30 pm (IST) Professor Jaafar Jotheri, assistant professor and vice-dean, Faculty of Archeology, University of Al-Qadisiyah, Iraq. Topic:Holocene avulsion history of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the Mesopotamian floodplain. 

June 10, 2020, 3.30 pm (IST), Professor Chris Stringer, Research Leader-Human Evolution, Department, Earth Sciences, Division,  ES Vertebrates and Anthropology Palaeobiology Natural History Museum, London. Topic: Some current issues in Middle-Late Pleistocene human evolution. 

June 8, 2020, 6 pm (IST). Professor Ravi Korisettar, ICHR-Senior Academic Fellow, India. Topic: Robert Bruce Foote’s Legacy in Southern India. 

June 5, 2020, 6 pm (IST) Professor Nena Galanidou, Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, the University of Crete, Greece. Topic: 'Τhe Acheulean archaeology of Lesbos, Greece and the Aegean corridors connecting east and west Eurasia'. 

June 1, 2020, 6 pm (IST). Professor Erella Hovers,  Moshe Stekelis Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology,  The Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Topic: 'Taking the High Road out of Africa? Introducing Melka Wakena, an Early Pleistocene site on the Ethiopian Highlands'  

MAY 2020  

Speakers: May 2020 * 

May 28, 2020, 4.00 pm (IST) Dr. Sileshi Semaw, Senior Research Scientist in the Archaeology Program at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), Burgos, Spain. Topic: "The Gona Palaeoanthropological Research Project (Afar, Ethiopia), highlights of the major results of field research (1999-2020) 

May 26, 2020, 11.30 am (IST).Dr. Ariel Malinsky Buller (senior researcher)  MONREPOS, Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, Schloss Monrepos,Germany. Topic: “Population dynamics and cultural trajectories in S-W  Asia during MIS 7-3 (250-29 kya) - recent contribution of the research in Armenia”  

May, 25, 2020, 5 pm (IST) Professor Michael Petraglia, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Topic: Arabia and Hominin Dispersals in the Southern Dispersal Zone.

May 20, 2020, 5 pm (IST) Dr. Josep M. Pares: Research Program Coordinator: Geochronology and Geology, National Centre for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH), Burgos, Spain, Topic:"Paleomagnetism in archaeology: Basis and applications". 

May14, 2020, 5 pm (IST). Dr. Anand Kumar Pandey, Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR - National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, India. Topic: on "Quaternary geomorphology/landscapes for earthquakes and archaeology: a perspective".

May 12, 2020, 8.30 pm (IST): Dr. Ben Marwick, Associate Professor of Archaeology and director of the Geoarchaeology Laboratory at the University of Washington, Seattle. Topic: 'How did modern humans make their way into mainland Southeast Asia? New data on the Paleolithic from excavations in China, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Australia'. 

May 11, 2020, 11.30 am (IST): Professor Naama Goren-Inbar, The Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, Topic:   "The Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov: Interpreting Hominin behaviour.

May 7, 2020, 5 pm (IST): Dr. Naveen Chauhan, Reader, AMOPH, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad  will speak on 'Basics of luminescence chronology and its relevance for archaeology'.

May 5, 2020, 2.30 pm (IST): Professor Mohamed Sahnouni, National Centre for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH), Burgos, Spain. Topic: the “North African Early Palaeolithic: Recent excavations at Ain Hanech and Tighennif, Algeria. 

May 4, 2020, 5 pm: Professor J.S. Kharakwal, Head of the Department of Archaeology and also working Director of Sahitya Sansthan, JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur,  Topic: on Zawar: The Oldest Zinc Production Centre.  

May 1, 2020, 5 pm (IST) Dr. Karthick Balasubramanian, Biodiversity and Palaeobiology Group, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune. Topic: on"Application of Diatoms in Archaeology: A review and way ahead"  


June 28, 2020, 10.30 am - 1 pm. Workshop on "Introduction to R in Archaeology" in collabortion with Archaeology from Home: Connecting Things & Thoughts, conducted by Dr. Ben Marwick Associate Professor of Archaeology and director of the Geoarchaeology Laboratory at the University of Washington, Seattle. 

April 28, 2020: Group discussion & short course with Dr. Paromita Bose, Workshop: Basics of QGIS: part 1 with specific examples from archaeology and with examples from her ongoing research. 


*Speakers:ECRs *  and closed group meetings 

May 2nd, 2020, 5 pm:  Dr. Arunima Pati, Archaeological Survey of India, Topic: Introduction to Ganjifa. 

April 29, 2020: Group discussion with Ms. Sutonuka Bhattacharya: Topic: Modern reuse of ringstones: A Case Study in Bargarh district, Odisha. 

April 25, 2020: Chintan Thakker, Department of Ancient History & Archaeology, Madhav University, Pindwara, Sirohi, Rajasthan: Topic: Discussion on  Archaeological explorations in the West Banas Basin, Sirohi district, Rajasthan.

April 22nd, 2020 Group discussion with Professor M.Sahnouni and Professor Sileshi Semaw, CENIEH, Burgos, Spain, Topic: Debating the Developed Oldowan.

April 18th, 2020. Group discussion with  Dr. Paromita Bose. Topic: Discussion on raw material exploitation and provenance studies for the Eastern Indian Neolithic.

April 14th, 2020: Group discussion with  Dr. Mokshada B.Salunke: Topic: Discussion on the Palaeolithic of Telangana, India.

April 11th, 2020: Group discussion with  Dr. Prachi B. Joshi .Topic: Discussion on the Acheulian with a focus on the Vidarbha region, Maharashtra, India.

April 4th, 2020:  Group discussion with Professor Mohamed Sahnouni, CENIEH, Burgos, Spain: Topic: Discussion Meeting on the Oldowan  (continued).

March 28th, 2020:Online video conference with Professor Mohamed Sahnouni, CENIEH, Burgos, Spain: Topic: Discussion Meeting on the Oldowan. 

*Speakers: May 2020  Speakers: June 2020 *  Speakers:July 2020 ECRs * Conference *  Workshop on R *