About the Department
The Department of Ancient History and Archaeology had its inception in the year 1959 with Dr.T.V.Mahalingam adorning the Professorial Chair and Dr.B.K.Gururaja Rao, Dr.C.Krishnamurthy and Dr.R.Champakalakshmi serving as Lecturers. It was further strengthened with Technical posts such as Curator, Excavation and Research Assistant, Photographer, Draughtsman and Artist. With this excellent team of faculty and Technical Staff members, Post-Graduate degree course in Ancient History and Archaeology was introduced in 1960 and field training in exploration and excavation was imparted to students. The Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circle and the Government Museum, Egmore, came forward to extend expertise knowledge in the field of archaeology and Museology respectively to students of the department. Promotion of Archaeological research gave an impetus for enthusiastic researchers to enroll themselves in the Department for M.Litt. and Ph.D. degrees. Consequent to the retirement of Professor T.V.Mahalingam in 1971, Dr.C.Krishnamurti was placed in-charge of the Department for a few years and thereafter, Dr.K.V. Raman from the Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circle, was appointed Professor in 1976. Besides, Dr.S.Gurumurti and Dr.P.Shanmugam, old students of the Department, became Lecturers, and subsequently Headed the Department. From 2004 - 2008 the Department was headed by Prof. A. Ekambaranathan.There after Dr. P.D. Balaji is the Head in- charge of the Department.. The Department had further expansion with the creation of Technical Posts. The Postgraduate student strength also increased year after year. Students from foreign countries like Thailand, Japan, Poland and Srilanka also had the opportunity of studying M.A. degree course in the Department. Moreover, archaeological studies attracted research scholars from different parts of Peninsular India and North East India to the Department inorder to pursue research leading to M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees, as this Department is the only University Department offering M.A. Degree course in Ancient History and Archaeology in South India. Further, it is the only University Department in South India recognized by the Government of India to undertake archaeological excavations annually and give field training to M.A. students. With a view to ascertain the spread of Neolithic culture and its links with the megalithic culture in Tamilnadu, archaeological explorations were carried out and new sites like Appukkallu, Mallappadi, Kallerimalai, Athiyamankottai, Tiruvakkarai and Guttur were identified in Tamilnadu where the Department had undertaken archaeological excavations. Besides, to reinvestigate the origin of the rouletted ware, a variety of Roman pottery, collaborative excavation with Dr.Vimala Begly of the Pensilvaniya University, U.S.A., was undertaken at the famous Indo-Roman trading center of Arikkamedu, Pondicherry, for 5 sessions (1990 - 95). The results of the excavations were highly rewarding, and earned good reputation to the Department. The Department also had collaboration with Professor Nobru Karashima of the Tokyo University, Japan. With the financial support from the Government of Japan joint research project works were undertaken by Prof. K.V.Raman and Prof. P.Shanmugam. The results of the joint research projects had been published in the form of books. Under F.I.P. programme also, many college Teachers registered for Ph.D. degree in the Department. Above all, Major and Minor research projects, sponsored by UGC, ICHR and Nehru Trust, New Delhi were undertaken by Faculty members. This 50 years old Department of Ancient History and Archaeology is the almamater for 450 Postgraduate students from the year of its inception till date. It has the credit of producing 132 M.Phil., 7 M.Litt. and 61 Ph.D. degrees. Faculty members have all along published 60 books and hundreds of research articles in reputed journals. Conducting Seminars, Workshops, Conferences, Refresher Courses, Endowment Lectures, Explorations and Excavations are the regular Departmental activities towards achieving academic excellence in the field of Ancient History as well as Archaeology.