Raymond Allchin - EASAA

European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art

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Raymond Allchin

Robert Coningham

Posted in In memoriam June 10, 2010

Dr F.R. Allchin, FSA, FBA (1923-2010)

It is with great sadness that we announce the demise, after a short illness, of Dr. Raymond Allchin, who sadly passed away on the 4th of June at Addenbrookes Hospital, at the age of 86. Husband of Bridget, father of Sushila & William, grandfather of Benjamin, Joseph & Hannah and great grandfather to Rosa.

Raymond Allchin was born in Harrow in 1923 and educated at Westminster, but his lifetime commitment to South Asia came when he was posted there during the War in 1944. Quickly switching interests from architecture to archaeology, Raymond was appointed a Lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1954 before moving to Cambridge in 1959. Following a career of fieldwork and research across India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, he retired from Cambridge University with the title of Emeritus Reader in South Asian Archaeology in 1989. Now freed from University burdens, Raymond committed the next twenty years to developing the research profile of The Ancient India and Iran Trust.

Together with his wife, Bridget Allchin, he influenced generations of students and scholars through his joint and edited publications on the archaeology and history of South Asia. These ranged from the excavation reports of Piklihal (1960) and Utnur (1963) to the successive synthetic volumes on The Birth of Indian Civilisation (1968), The Archaeology of Afghanistan (1978), The Rise of Indian Civilisation in India and Pakistan (1982) and The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia (1995). His 1964 translation of Tulsi Das’ Kavitavali demonstrates the true depth and breadth of his scholarship.

Raymond, together with his wife Bridget, was one of the founding members of the European Association of South Asian Archaeologists forty years ago this year. Together with a small group of colleagues from other parts of Europe, Raymond and Bridget Allchin created a platform for South Asian archaeologists and art historians not only for exchanging information on ongoing excavations and research, but also for simply experiencing the bond of shared professional interests. Raymond reflected on the history of these South Asian Archaeology meetings in a paper contributed to the proceedings of the 1995 Cambridge meeting. The continuous increase in size of the biannual meetings (‘the penalties of success’, as Raymond wrote), reveals the need felt by those active in the field for such a common meeting ground; ‘no one can question its usefulness, popularity, nor the international status it has achieved’, so he concluded.

Raymond Allchin co-edited two of the proceedings volumes on the 1981 and the 1995 meetings in Cambridge. In addition he compiled an index to the published proceedings for meetings held between 1971 (the first conference) and 1991, which was published in Naples in 1997. The European Association of South Asian Archaeologists will honour his memory during a special presentation at the upcoming conference in July.

Some useful links:

Download tribute held at the 20th EASAA Conference 2010 in Vienna:
Raymond Allchin: an archaeological life

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