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, when 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. Stay safe and well !  Read more about it here in a blog for the Leakey Foundation.  Click here to read about this forum and some important guidelines for participating. 

Upcoming lectures (open access)

At present, we can accomodate only 100 participants, and registrations close once this limit is reached, so please check this page regularly for updates. 


This list is being updated. Please watch this space! 

Coming Next! 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. Registrations are now closed. 

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.Registrations will open shortly. 

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. Registrations will open shortly. 

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. Registrations will open shortly. 

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.Registrations will open shortly. 

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.Registrations will open shortly. 

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. Registrations will open shortly. 

Dates to be finalized: Profesor Shanti Pappu, Dr. Kumar Akhilesh & colleagues on 'The Palaeolithic of South India: Attirampakkam and beyond" 

Dates to be finalized: Professor J.S. Kharakwal, Head of the Department of Archaeology and also working Director of Sahitya Sansthan, JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur,  will speak on Excavation at Kanmer, a Harappan site in Kachchh, Gujarat, India.  Registrations will open shortly. 

Past Lectures:

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 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"  

Past Workshops 

June 28, 2020, 10.30 am - 1 pm. Workshop on "Introduction to R in Archaeology" in collaboration 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. 

Past Discussion Meetings 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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