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Father of Indian Archaeological Cunningham

Father of Indian Archaeological Cunningham was born on 23 January 1814 and died on 28 November 1893 in United Kingdom. Sir Alexander Cunningham was a British army officer and archaeologist who unearthed several places in India, including Sarnath and Sanchi and worked as the chief administrator of the Indian Archaeological Survey. There will be no student of Indian history or archaeology who has not found his work or read about his discoveries or also followed his footprints at the places they tour. Yet Alexander Cunningham was no historian or archaeologist. He was a British army deputy whose pure intellectual joined with a fondness and love for this nation and a touch of fate drove him to enhance as the ‘founder of Indian archaeology’.

Father of Indian Archaeological Cunningham
Father of Indian Archaeological Cunningham

Cunningham is recognized and remembered for creating the most astonishing and groundbreaking archaeological findings in India. It was he who attended the first diggings at Harappa he was the one who unearthed the Sanchi stupas at Sanchi and Sarnath and shoveled and refurbished other important Buddhist sites. He has discovered the exact position of Taxila and discovered Aornos and the site of the last great onslaught of Alexander’s soldiers in India. He also found engravings, coins, and carvings of the sort no one had ever noticed before in the world.

At the mere age of 19 he entered the Bengal Engineers and gave 28 years in the British service in India, he retired as a major general in the year 1861. Early in his work, he reached to James Prinsep, a British numismatist and Indian philosopher, who kindled his importance in Indian history and species. In the year 1837, Cunningham unearthed at Sarnath, one of the holiest Buddhist sepulchers, and delicately preserved sketches of the images. In the year 1850, he unearthed Sanchi stupa, the place of some of the most magnificent surviving structures in India. 

He published The Ancient Geography of India in the year 1871, the first batch of the decrees of the 3rd-century-BC Indian emperor Aśoka, and The Stûpa of Bharhut was published in the year 1879. Over the ages, he collected a great accumulation of Indian coins, the most excellent of which were obtained by the British Museum. After he retired from the study in the year 1885, he dedicated himself to Indian numismatics the study or collection of coins, paper currency, and medals, and wrote two books on the topic. He was knighted in the year 1887.