October 2023


019, GICT Building


Navigating Multiple Forms of Heritage: Metal, Natyam, and Digital

The Nalanda
Professor Sharada Srinivasan Nalanda Speaker Ahmedabad University

Professor Sharada Srinivasan

Archaeologist and Professor
National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru
Professor Neel Kamal Chapagain Nalanda Moderator Ahmedabad University

Professor Neel Kamal Chapagain

Centre for Heritage Management
Ahmedabad University

Sharada Srinivasan's work encompasses various disciplines, including science, history, archaeology, technology, art, and heritage. In this session, she shares why she set on this unique interdisciplinary journey. "My father was in physics, and my uncle was in developmental science. Growing up, I witnessed a lot of excitement in the scientific field. Because of these influences, I gravitated toward it. However, I was also interested in Bharata Naytam and wanted to do something in the creative and artistic field. So, I integrated my love for dance with my scientific knowledge and inquiry and reconciled these two sectors to begin my journey in material culture."

When asked if we could use modern technology to restore heritage, she shares, "There is a lot of excitement that we could use digital technology to restore heritage. But, when something is ruined, it is impossible to go back and reimagine it. That's not the point of this exercise. For historians, ruined is also a record of what happened in that time. Technology is just a tool to interpret and understand our heritage and to elaborate on it. Technology cannot give us a replacement. It cannot give us solid answers."


Professor Sharada Srinivasan

Professor Sharada Srinivasan earned her PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK. Professor Srinivasan is known for her pioneering work in the study of archaeology and history of art from the perspective of exploring engineering applications in the same. With her current research focusing on ancient mining and metallurgy in South India, her landmark contributions include the use of lead isotope analysis to characterise bronzes. As an elected International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in the field of Archaeology (2021) her contributions to Archaeology have been highly influential. The Padma Shri award recipient (2019) , has extensively studied high carbon wootz steel production and artisanal technologies like Aranmula high tin bronze metal mirror making and bronze casting at Swamimalai. In addition to her academic work, Professor Srinivasan has worked with prestigious institutions and museums worldwide, including the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Archaeological Survey of India. She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the INAE Indian National Academy of Engineering Woman Engineer in Academia 2021 Award and the Dr Kalpana Chawla Young Women Scientist Award in 2011. She is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and the World Academy of Art and Science. She is the first author of the book titled ‘India’s Legendary Wootz Steel’ and has been a contributing author and co-editor in other books and catalogues as well. Furthermore, Professor Srinivasan is an accomplished Bharata Natyam dancer and has given lecture-demonstrations on various artistic and scientific perspectives on the Chola Nataraja bronzes at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007)


Professor Neel Kamal Chapagain

Professor Chapagain obtained his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (USA). His research domain covers heritage discourses, community engagement, participatory processes, heritage education, heritage values and authenticity, ethnographic approach in heritage research, vernacular architecture. He also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Heritage. Professor Chapagain has also been the conference chair for the series of International Conference on Heritage Management Education & Practice at Ahmedabad University. Furthermore, he has been a UNESCO accredited global facilitator for the 2003 convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage.