John Marshall (archaeologist)
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John Marshall Archaeologist
Sir John Marshall
Sir John Marshall.jpg
Sir John Marshall working at his desk
Born(1876-03-19)19 March 1876
Died17 August 1958(1958-08-17) (aged 82)
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge
Known forexcavations in Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Sanchi, Sarnath, Taxila, Crete and Knossos
Scientific career
FieldsHistory, Archaeology
InstitutionsArchaeological Survey of India
InfluencesJames Prinsep, H. H. Wilson, John Leyden, Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Colin Mackenzie and William Jones

Sir John Hubert Marshall (19 March 1876, Chester, England – 17 August 1958, Guildford, England) was the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1928.[1] He oversaw the excavations of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, two of the main cities that comprise the Indus Valley Civilization.

Personal history and career

Marshall was educated at Dulwich College as well as King's College, Cambridge.[2] In 1898, he won the Porson Prize.[3]

In 1902, the new viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, appointed Marshall as Director-General of Archaeology within the British Indian administration. Marshall modernised the approach to archaeology on that continent, introducing a programme of cataloguing and conservation of ancient monuments and artefacts.

Marshall began the practice of allowing Indians to participate in excavations in their own country. In 1913, he began the excavations at Taxila, which lasted for twenty years. In 1918, he laid the foundation stone for the Taxila Museum, which today hosts many artifacts and one of Marshall's few portraits. He then moved on to other sites, including the Buddhist centres of Sanchi and Sarnath.

His work provided evidence of age of Indian civilisation especially Indus Valley Civilization and Mauryan age (Ashoka's Age). Following the lead of his predecessor Alexander Cunningham, Marshall, in 1920, initiated at dig at Harappa with Daya Ram Sahni as director. In 1922, work began at Mohenjo-Daro. The results of these efforts, which revealed a seeming ancient culture with its own writing system, were published in the Illustrated London News on 20 September 1924. Scholars linked the artifacts with the ancient civilisation of Sumer in Mesopotamia. Subsequent excavation showed Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro to be sophisticated planned cities with plumbing and baths.[4]

Marshall also led excavations at the prehistoric Sohr Damb mound near Nal in Baluchistan; a small representative collection of pottery vessels from the site is now in the British Museum.[5] He is also known for his important part in excavations at Knossos and various other sites on Crete between 1898 and 1901 .

Marshall was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in June 1910[6] and knighted in January 1915.[7]


  • Marshall, John (ed.) (1931). Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Marshall, John H. (1960). The Buddhist Art of Gandhara: the Story of the Early School, Its Birth, Growth and Decline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In British Academy

Sir John Marshall was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1936 .

See also


  1. ^ "Banerji robbed of credit for Indus findings".
  2. ^ "Marshall, John Hubert (MRSL895JH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ The India List and India Office List for 1905, London: Harrison and Sons, 1905, p. 562.
  4. ^ Jane McIntosh, The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives ; ABC-CLIO, 2008; ISBN 978-1-57607-907-2 ; pp. 29-32.
  5. ^ British Museum Collection
  6. ^ London Gazette, 23 June 1910
  7. ^ London Gazette, 9 March 1915

External links

Preceded by
James Burgess
Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India
1902 - 1928
Succeeded by
Harold Hargreaves

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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