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Durham e-Theses
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Rāmṭek and its landscape: An archaeological approach to the study of the Eastern Vākāṭaka kingdom in central India.

LACEY, HARRIET,RUTH (2017) Rāmṭek and its landscape: An archaeological approach to the study of the Eastern Vākāṭaka kingdom in central India. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis investigates the development of the landscape surrounding the Eastern Vākāṭaka ritual centre of Rāmṭek in central India. The research aims to contextualise the site of Rāmṭek through the use of landscape archaeology, to explore its relationship to rural settlement and thus go beyond the existing preoccupation with the isolated study of its monumental remains. The results of the survey are used to construct a hypothetical case study for the development of the Early Historic landscape in this region. This narrative of landscape development is connected to the region’s socio-economic development under the Vākāṭakas, which will be related to the wider context of Early Historic to Early Medieval change in India. The survey develops existing methodologies to suit the environment encountered on fieldwork and subsequently a preliminary approach to data analysis is presented.

Through landscape survey and ceramic seriation, broad phases of development can be determined. Based on a significant increase in material evidence from the Early Historic period, it is argued that this phase witnessed changes in religious, political and socio-economic spheres. Whilst these developments are only securely related to the over-arching Early Historic period, there is evidence to suggest that the Vākāṭakas influenced development following their establishment of the ritual site and occupation of the area as a dynastic centre. The survey results demonstrate a prosperous local economy as opposed to deurbanisation and economic decline, which is popularly associated with the period of Vākāṭaka rule. The Eastern Vākāṭaka data is then referred to the wider context of the nature of Early Historic to Early Medieval urbanism in the Indian subcontinent. It is argued that ‘urbanism’ may have been expressed differently in this period resulting in low-density networks of productive settlements or conurbations.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:India Archaeology Vākāṭaka Ramtek Early Historic Landscape
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Nov 2017 11:10

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