The work of an archaeologist is to study architectural relics and monuments and to undertake excavations to identify the period to which they belong and hence to trace the stages of development of civilizations.
Archaeology is a field of study, which offers a variety of specializations that help to study the various facets of the past.
The work of a numismatist is to study old coins, tokens, paper money and other related objects such as medals etc. Through the study of these objects the numismatist provides important insights into the past and assists in restructuring it.
The epigrapher studies ancient inscriptions and deciphers their meaning. The inscription could be on ancient monuments, rocks, stupas, copper plates, temples etc. The epigrapher takes ink impressions of the inscription and then deciphers and decodes them.
Apart from these specific specializations, an archaeologist could take up the task of preservation and maintenance of ancient monuments and artifacts.
To enter into this field an individual needs to have a background of ancient history and culture. A person with a specialized grounding in archaeology will have tremendous opportunity to do extremely well.
Teaching in theory and training in the field and laboratories is imparted in several subjects and all of them are compulsory. Students have to spend half the period in the field training in excavation and exploration, conservation and study of monuments and also in surveying, drawing and photography.
The following are the subjects, which are taught at the institute by the experts of the Archaeological Survey of India and other guest lecturers. At this stage no specialization is offered. The course attempts to familiarize the candidates with all aspects relating to archaeology. A candidate can diversify into a particular field during the course of work, and hence specialize in the area.
and methods in Archaeology
This covers excavation, exploration and publication.
Elementary knowledge of geology, anthropology, environmental archaeology, vertebrate zoology, palaeobotany, elementary chemistry and dating methods and their application in archaeology are taught.
Students are taught about stone-age cultures of India, Asia, Africa and Europe.
A detailed study of prehistoric cultures of India and Pakistan with reference to the contemporary cultures of the West and Central Asia is made.
Students are made to study early historical and late medieval periods in India.
Condensed courses in art and iconography of ancient and medieval periods.
Ancient and mediaeval architecture of India is studied.
Condensed courses in ancient and mediaeval scripts and coins are offered.
Principles of display card indexing and cataloguing; reserve collections in museums; museum building and security; museum and education are taught.
Principles and practice of structural conservation, building materials, archaeological works code, etc. is taught.
Students are taught the application of chemistry to the preservation of monuments and antiquities.
The various acts relating to preservation etc. are taught.
There are now quite a number of institutions, which offer courses in archaeology. However the Institute of Archaeology which is under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of
India in Delhi is one of the very few institutions, which offers a specialized course in the subject.