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This volume offers a fresh approach to the existing literature on religion in Early Assam, bringing together perspectives from the fields of archaeology, religion, history and heritage. For decades, the Naraka legend has been incorporated into history without due critical attention and analysis of the historical context, while archaeological studies in religion have been largely descriptive. The sacred landscape of the erstwhile Prāgjyotiṣa and Kāmarūpa kingdoms had linkages with the history of other parts of India, and beyond. This book offers a comprehensive reconstruction of religion in Early Assam based on an exhaustive use of archaeological sources. It opens with a useful overview of the conceptual and methodological foundations of religion, archaeology and history. Heritage conservation of sacred sites such as Kāmākhyā which face the impact of rapid urbanization illustrates implications for Assam’s history and identity.
History as a social science is arguably more self-reflective than associated disciplines in that family. Other social scientists seem to see little reason to look beyond the paradigm they are developing in the present times. Historians on the other hand, tend to depend on the cumulative process of the development of their craft and the fund of accumulated knowledge. Yet, while this is acknowledged in the practice of research, Historiography in itself as a subject of study has rarely found its place in the syllabi of Indian universities. Knowledge of Historiography is taken for granted when a scholar plunges into research. In an attempt to address this lacuna, the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) has planned a series of volumes on Historiography comprising articles by subject specialists commissioned by the ICHR. The first volume in the series, Approaches to History: Essays in Indian Historiography brings to the readers the first fruits of that endeavour. While the essays encompass areas of research presently at the frontiers of new research, scholars will also find the bibliographies accompanying the essays of significant appeal.