Amalananda Gosh

Portrait of Amalananda   Gosh

Amalananda (A.) Gosh (3 March 1910, Varanasi, British India – 1981, New York City, USA) was an Indian archaeologist and paleoarchaeologist who conducted several archaeological expeditions around India during the 20th century and authored numerous books and publications, including An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology, edited by A. Gosh with the assistance of Prof. Himanshu P. Ray and published after his death thanks to his widow, Sudha Gosh (1st ed.: New Delhi, Munshirman Manoharlal Publishers, 2 vols.,1989; 2d ed: Brill Academic Publishers, 1990).

After studying in Varanasi, Allahabad and at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of London, he joined the Archaeological Survey of India in 1937, serving as its director-general from 1953 to 1968. Specializing in ancient cities of Northern India, he led archaelogical prospections at Pachmarhi, Bikaner, Ahichhattra, Maski, Taxila, Arikamedu, and Harappa. He was the first to ascertain the similarity between pre-urban ancient Harappa and the mature Harappan culture (26001900 BCE).

Later on, A. Ghosh was a UNESCO consultant on archaeology to the Governments of Qatar (1968), Bahrain (1968), Saudi Arabia (1968 – 69) and Yemen (1970). Among his publications apart from the Encyclopaedia: 

  • A Note on the Allahabad Pillar of Asoka”(with Krishnaswamy Rao Sahib, in The Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society, Oct. 1935, pp 697 – 706).
  • A Guide to Nalanda (1939 [referential guide to the mahavihara of Nalanda (Bihar, India)].
  • Taxila (Cambridge University Press, 1951). [Taxila (or Takshashila), sk. तक्षशिला, gr. Τάξιλα, in north Punjab (now in Pakistan), was founded around 1000 BCE and was the capital of ancient Gāndhāra before being conquered by Alexander the Great in 326 BCE, and later by the Maurya Empire, the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the Indo-Scythians and the Kushan Empire.] 
  • Ajanta Murals (with Ingrid Aall, ASI, 1967) [on the Ajanta Caves paintings].
  • The City in Early Historic India (1973).
  • Jaina Art And Architecture (Bharatiya Jnanpith, 3 vols., 1975). 
  • About A. Gosh’s body of work: Archaeology and History: Essays in Memory of Sh. A. Ghosh (2 vols., eds. B.M. Pande and B.D. Chattopadhyaya, New Delhi, Agam Kala Prakashan, 1987). 

The legacy of this distinguised archaelogist, who was honored with the Padma Shri award, has been commemorated in various events in India, for instance the special lecture by Prof. Ravi Korisettar Twenty Five Years of Prehistoric Archaeology in the Rayalaseema Region of the Erstwhile Madras Presidency’, August 2023.