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Author : Devika Cariapa
Illustrator : Ashok Rajagopalan
Superhero action carved on rocks... A headless statue... Royal inscriptions on pillars... Glass fragments from a lost city... These may sound like clips from a fantasy thriller, but are in fact objects unearthed at archaeological sites — and the stories they throw up are just as exciting! This visually vibrant book has an interdisciplinary approach that goes beyond conventional subject boundaries. Showing the interconnectedness of ideas, events and issues, and cross-cultural influences — all based on archaeological findings — it encourages a more critical and holistic understanding of India’s multihued history.
2019: Winner, Bal Sahitya Puraskar, Sahitya Akademi
2018: Winner, The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award – Best Book, Non-Fiction
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|Specifications||160 pages; 9.5” x 8.5”; portrait Colour; hard cover|
|Awards||The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award - Best Picture Book: Story|
|Tags||excavation, history, archaeology, ancient objects, stories, understanding India, educational, award-winner|
A visual delight
India through Archaeology: Excavating HistoryAuthor: Devika Cariapa Illustrator: Ashok Rajagopalan 160 pages EnglishRs 625.00ISBN: 978-93-5046-840-1 Tulika Publishers, 2017Tags : Archaeologists,Archaeology,Excavations,Indian History Overall Rating : 8 Story/Content : 4 Illustration : 4 Language : 4 Design : 4 In a scenario where the word ‘history’ is viewed as largely synonymous with mind-numbing boredom, Devika Cariapa’s labour of love, India Through Archaeology: Excavating History, is a welcome entrant. Cariapa manages to include a wide range of information culled from varied historical sources but with a very light touch so that the book never tips over into the realm of boredom. While the work reconstructs myriad aspects of life in the past spanning the political, social, economic and religious realms, care has been taken to make the information as comprehensive as possible. Photographs have been sourced with an eye to profusely illuminate the text. Ranging from the prehistoric cave art at Bhimbetka to Ashoka’s inscribed pillars to archaeological discoveries at Pattanam and Hampi, the visuals form a very important part of this work and highlight crucial moments of the past in a richly emphatic, even dramatic, way. Photographs of historical sources, such as coins, copperplate inscriptions and sculptures, are regularly juxtaposed with the text to enhance readability and comprehension very effectively. Goodbooks.in
Fun illustrations to appeal to kids
It’s not often that a children’s book gets taken seriously, but this one deserves all the attention it has been getting. Excavating History is a history of India, but a scientific and comprehensive volume, using archaeological finds to do a quick rundown of what’s been going on in the subcontinent from the Stone Age downwards. I don’t mind admitting that I learned a lot of things, and added several new sites to my future travel list. With fun illustrations to appeal to kids and dense enough for the amateur historian adult, I’m recommending it to everyone with even a slight interest in what happened before the stories began. Business Line's BLink
Reads like an adventure thriller!
When I picked up this book, little did I know that I would be embarking on a breathless ride zipping across the length and breadth of the subcontinent, squinting up at giant structures, peering into dark caves or digging up treasures in modest backyards... Using pictures, well illustrated maps, and cartoon strips , the author achieves a rare feat; she makes a book on archaeology and the past read like an adventure thriller... The past is presented in a series of vignettes. Bhimbetka, Mohenjodaro, Muziris, Hampi, Naneghat Pass, Takshashila …. In each of these, the author takes us through the journey of its discovery, the unfolding of the significance of that discovery, and how it eventually shaped our understanding of our past. There are cross references to other civilizations and cultural practices... While sticking to a broadly chronological structure for the sake of sequence, the book abounds in short dashes down alleys of anecdotes, events and quirky asides; hidden treats that make reading this book such a pleasure. The lively and witty illustrations by Ashok Rajagopalan make for a fun experience by themselves. Bindu Gurtoo on Amazon.in
Presented in such an engaging fashion
The writer Devika Cariapa (with illustrator Ashok Rajagopalan and the design team) presents the story of unearthing India’s past in such an engaging fashion that it would be unfair to slot this as children’s reading alone... The book is able to make the story of two chunks of prehistoric stone in Chennai’s government museum exciting in a way the real display in the real museum will possibly never do. When I got to the bit about how Harappan bricks were being carted off in the 1880s for the Lahore-Multan railway line, I actually held my breath... It wouldn’t be at all surprising if a book like this had ... impact on the next generation’s career choices. The Hindu
Brings alive the magic and mystery of archaeology
Excavating History wears its knowledge lightly and tells its stories well. There isn’t a single ponderous note, nor does the book ever take on a sternly authoritative tone of the all-knowing expert. The timeline from the before present era to the near modern that shoulders every chapter is especially helpful... The book is meant for young adults but it will nevertheless engage readers of all ages. Scroll.in
Rich repertoire of images and anecdotes
Devika Cariapa has used a rich repertoire of images and anecdotes to tempt her audience to follow her into the rabbit hole of history. She digs through mud, stone and brick to bring alive the story of the people of India by the material remains of their cities and settlements... cartoon characters pepper the text with cheeky figures of sola topi wearing archaeologists puzzling over layers of mud filled debris and wonderful maps that mirror the changing landscape of the Indian subcontinent... The book is always aware that it needs to talk to its ideal reader, the ten-year-old millennial of today. The Wire
Encapsulating India's past
Devika Cariapa’s labour of love, India Through Archaeology: Excavating History, pulls off the deceptively simple but enormously difficult task of encapsulating India’s past through the archaeological record. From The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award 2018 citation