Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology, West Bengal – a doorway to renowned and advanced Knowledge and research programs, is all set to launch new certification and diploma courses on Archaeology. Archaeology is the study of human activity through the revival and study of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artefacts, architecture, bio facts or eco facts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities. The discipline involves surveying, excavation and eventually analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research. The course will be taught in the Heritage Cell that has recently been started by the University for the first time by Dr. Phanikanta Mishra, Former Regional Director, Archaeological Survey of India and at present Director of Heritage Cell, MAKAUT, WB and the author of the book ‘Rakhal Das Banerji: The Forgotten Archaeologist’. When we hear the term Archaeology, one name that comes to our mind is “Rakhal Das Banerji’’ a man whom we owe an explanation. He was an eminent Indian Archaeologist & Museum expert and officer at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He is mostly known as the discoverer of Mohenjo-Daro, the principal site of the Harappa culture. The main aim is to protect scientifically the literary and archaeological evidence entrenched in the cultural to Heritage of Bengal. Heritage is deemed to mean those buildings, artefacts, structures, areas, and precincts that are of historic, aesthetic, architectural or cultural significance and should include natural features within such areas of environmental significance or scenic beauty such as sacred groves, hills, hillocks, water bodies (and the areas adjoining the same), open areas, wooded areas, etc. It must be recognized that the ‘cultural landscape’ around a heritage site is critical for the interpretation of the site and its built heritage and thus is very much its integral part.
These courses will make acquainted the students with studies of literary sources like Shilpa Shastra, Manasollasa, Natya Sastra, Roopmandana, Aparaajitapricha, Jataka tales, Panchtantra, Jain mythology etc. Apart from these, the students will have an idea about the difference in Plan structure of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples so that they become friendlier with original structure while conservation or restoration is taken. Students will be introduced to mythology, epics and puranic episodes as most of the monuments have stories which are not yet been engraved. Further, they will be also trained about geology which will give them a clear idea on the subject as well. Sandstone figures are different from granite ones or schist ones and need different method of treatment. Training will be given to know on how to clean sculptures and panels as sandstone cleaning is different from granite or Mathura stone figures and from these the students will get knowledge about the serious damage being caused and how and where weeds are growing on monuments.
Apart from the above, how the temple premises is getting damaged day by day by pollution, blasts , rain and fire and what are the measures as how these can be saved will be taught to the students. Fractal and golden ratios knowledge will also be a part of this course.
MAKAUT has come up with this course in order to give the students a clear idea about the subject Archaeology as it has been found that the focus in Archaeology in recent times is very less. People have very less knowledge about the Heritage structure so this will give them knowledge about everything. Archaeological department are there in other universities also, but the depth is not there as much as need to be given, hence MAKAUT has started this course so that students can understand the course from the root. The basic importance of Archaeology lies in excavation, restoration, conservation etc and one of the main reason to start this course to take the students to excavations where they will get a detail knowledge about the monuments that has lost its importance in recent times and then work on the excavation report. The students will be also sent for practical training to utmost 50 percent of the sites. The main motto is just not to give the students a degree but also guide them with a proper knowledge about the course. By studying this course, students will understand in a better way about how and why human behaviour has changed over time. Archaeology can go where other subjects cannot – further back in time than other subjects and into aspects of society and human behaviour that other subjects can never reach. Also, MAKAUT is going to host a seminar in February 2020 on ‘Heritage of Bengal’ so that students can get a detailed knowledge about the course and find interest in studying the subject.
The course comprises of the following:
- One year PG Diploma in Archaeology (Duration 400 Hours)
- One year Diploma course in Archaeological Conservation & Restoration (Duration 400 Hours)
- Certificate course for 90 days in Conservation, Restoration & Antiquarian Law (Duration 120 Hours)
Job Prospects: These courses will be very useful for those students who will go for job in Conservation and Restoration/ Archaeology/ Geology/ Anthropology by Government/Semi government departments/NGO’s in India or abroad/ Universities etc.