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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Fragility and Durability: Pre-colonial Vijayanagara and its hinterlands through an archaeological lens’, 30th January, 2015.


‘Fragility and Durability: Pre-colonial Vijayanagara and its hinterlands through an archaeological lens’


Prof. Carla Sinopoli,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, USA.


Imperial cities are best known through their monuments—the impressive palaces, fortifications, temples, and administrative structures through which political and sacred authority was enacted and communicated. The imperial city of Vijayanagara (modern Hampi) is no exception. The monumental structures of Vijayanagara (which were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986) tell a story of imperial vision – of a place of power meant to endure long into the future. While many of Vijayanagara’s monuments still stand, Vijayanagara, as a city where people lived, worked, worshipped, and governed, was in fact relatively short-lived – created, inhabited, and abandoned over a period of only two hundred years. In this talk, the speaker draws on regional archaeological research at and around Vijayanagara to explore the history of Vijayanagara as an urban place, and to consider the factors that contribute to the fragility or durability of cities in pre-modern India.


Prof. Carla M. Sinopoli is Professor of Anthropology, Curator of Asian Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology and Director of the Museum Studies Programme at the University of Michigan, USA. She has been conducting archaeological research in India since 1983, working at the 14th through 16th century imperial city of Vijayanagara in modern Karnataka, South India. More recently her research has shifted to the study of late prehistoric and early historic sites in the same region. Prof. Sinopoli has published a number of articles and books on her research, including The Vijayanagara Metropolitan Survey, Volume 1 (2007, with Kathleen D. Morrison), The Political Economy of Craft Production: Crafting Empire in South India, c. 1350-1650 (2003); Ancient India in its Wider World (2008, ed. with Grant Parker), Archaeology as History: South Asia (2004, ed. with H.P. Ray), and The Himalayan Journey of Walter N. Koelz: The University of Michigan Himalayan Expedition, 1932-1934 (2013).

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