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Miss Harriet Lacey

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Research topic

Ramtek and its surrounding landscape


The aim of my research is to explore the site of Ramtek and its surrounding landscape, which will enhance an existing project headed by Hans Bakker of the University of Groningen and Michael Willis of the British Museum, focusing on archaeological investigation at Ramtek-Mansar and Udayagiri respectively.

The hill of Ramtek in Maharashtra was a major religious centre of the Vakataka dynasty during the Gupta-Vakataka period, which is considered a time of momentous change in Indian history with significant cultural, political and religious developments. The Vakatakas and Guptas were closely related, with the Vakatakas being arguably the most important partner kingdom of the Gupta dynasty. Despite this, they have traditionally been studied separately and work on this period is often hindered by disciplinary segregation and constraints imposed by regional divides in India. The aim of the wider research is to bring the study of the Guptas and Vakatakas together, thus recognising them as connected and interactive.

By synthesising existing data and carrying out a more comprehensive study involving field survey methods, this research aims to improve understanding of the nature of settlement around the hilltop shrine in order to more fully understand the ritual centre itself.  Specifically, the research seeks to map the site’s development and ascertain to what extent Vakataka activity at the site impacted on settlement and social and economic patterns in the landscape. By comparing the results of this survey to those from the Gupta ritual centre of Udayagiri, we also hope to be able to postulate whether the Vakataka site was modelled on the imperial example, and gather more evidence concerning the origin of hilltop shrines. Ultimately, through integration of the different threads of evidence including the field survey results, this will create a more complete archaeological picture of the site, which can be analysed in order to write a contextualised history of its immediate and broader contexts.

Research Groups

Department of Archaeology

  • Landscapes of Complex Society Research Group