Chaos in Urban Archaeology: The Ancient City of Allahabad, India

Shriya Gautam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


The city of Allahabad (now also known as Prayagraj), in southem Uttar Pradesh, India, epitomises the troubles and the untapped potential of archaeological activities in the country. Despite its rich archaeological heritage, the city is largely unaware of its historical significance and archaeological scope. Rather, many of the archaeologically relevant sites and historical buildings in the city are presently at risk because of the rapid urban development, involving but not limited to, construction of houses, malls, expressways and roads, Adding to the threat is the fact that Allahabad is one of the largest centres of urban agglomeration in India (Census, 2011), thus limiting the extent and scope of archaeological or restoration activities. This paper attempts to study the chaotic state of urban archaeology in Allahabad as well as examine the various destructive agents that are causing an irrevocable loss to human history.It also attempts to provide suggestions on how its impact could possibly be lessened if not completely remedied. For the purpose of this paper, several sites within the metropolis were surveyed and analysed for primary data collection; case studies were collected and duly compared with the existing archaeological reports and secondary data on Allahabad. Wherever possible, people, employed as caretakers by the Archaeological survey of India, were interviewed in order to understand whether or not the observations made in the case studies were correct. It may be noted, however, that the number of archaeologically relevant sites in Allahabad exceed than the ones that were considered for this paper and several of them may already be irrevocably lost.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApproaches to Disruptions and Interactions in Archaeology
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Graduate Archaeology at Oxford Annual Conferences in 2017-2019
EditorsPenny Coombe, Ying Tung Fung
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781803272832
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2022


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