PhD Public Defence of Mr. Jan Muhammad (research scholar Archaeology)

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  • Department of Archaeology, University of Peshawar
PhD Public Defence of Mr. Jan Muhammad (research scholar Archaeology)

A Study of their Material Culture

Jan Muhammad, PhD Scholar



This thesis explores the rich material culture of the Indo-Scythian in the region of Gandhara, shedding enough light on their unique political, historical and cultural significance. The Indo-Scythians were basically nomadic Central Asian people who migrated to the northwestern regions of the sub-continent during the first century (90/85 BCE) and continued to rule till 20 CE. Maues was the founder of this dynasty and established a strong political system on the pattern of the Indo Greek and declared Taxila as his capital city and started his rule from 90/85 to 75 BCE. Their arrival in Gandhara had a profound impact on the political and cultural landscape of the Gandhara region, as evidenced by the diverse range of archaeological remains and artistic expressions discovered in this area. The rich material culture has been discovered from prominent archaeological sites of Gandhara such as (Sirkap, Shaikhan Dheri, Barikot, Butkara-I, Gor Khuttree, Aziz Dheri, Manakrai Dheri, Pir Manakrai and Hayatabad).  Through an interdisciplinary approach combining archaeological, art-historical, and textual analysis, this study examines the material culture left behind by the Indo-Scythian. The primary objective is to unstitch the socio-cultural dynamics that shaped their interactions with the indigenous population and other external influences, such as Central Asian, Hellenistic, and Indian traditions. It aims to reconstruct the Indo-Scythian period material culture and its relationship to broader historical contexts by analyzing artifacts such as coins, pottery, clay objects, various inscriptions both religious and administrative, terra cotta figurines, beads, stone beads, shell objects, stone objects (toilet trays), sculptures, gold, silver jewellery, and architecture from major settlements site located in Gandhara regions.

This research investigates the implications of Indo-Scythian period material culture for our understanding of their socio-political, economic activities, religious beliefs, and artistic expressions, which influenced the development of the Gandharan art. The findings of this study contribute to a deeper understanding of the Indo-Scythian historical significance and their role in shaping the material culture of Gandhara. The significance of material culture during the Indo-Scythian period in the Gandhara region brings with them a unique cultural and artistic legacy. The thesis also investigates the architectural remains and their significance in understanding Indo-Scythian urban planning and settlement patterns. The influence of Indo-Scythian animal art on Gandhara art is a significant aspect of the traditional transaction and artistic development in the region.