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Sharada Srinivasan
Editor, Traditional Knowledge Systems

Brief Bio-Data

Name: Sharada Srinivasan

Date of Birth: 16 January 1966

Permanent Address:

612, 11th cross, Kailas, 2nd Main, J.P. Nagar, Bangalore 560078, India
Tel: 0091-80-6582829; email: sharadasrinivasa@yahoo.com

Current Occupation and address

Researcher in Archaeometallurgy, Archaeomaterials and inter-disciplinary studies in science and art,

Associate Fellow, National Institute of Advanced Studies,

Indian Institute of Science Campus. Bangalore 560012, India

Email: sharada@nias.iisc.ernet.in; tel: 0091-80-3604351; fax: 0091-80-3606634


·         -Higher Secondary Certificate (1983), Jai Hind College, Mumbai, India in Sciences (Distinction)

·         -Bachelor of Technology (1987), Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, in Engineering Physics -(First Class)

·         -Master’s (1989), School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in Art and Archaeology (Distinction).  MA dissertation:  “Technological aspects of use of stone in Indian temple architecture”

·         -Ph.D. (1996), in Archaeometallurgy, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK.  Thesis was entitled: “The enigma of the dancing ‘pancha-loha’ (five-metalled) icons: Art historical and archaeometallurgical investigations on south Indian metal icons’. (Recommended by examiners for publication).  Synopsis: The thesis is the first and most comprehensive study on the applications of inter-disciplinary scientific and archaeometallurgical investigations in the art historical study, dating, provenancing and finger-printing of South Indian metal icons.  A 130 representative South Indian images from Government Museum, Madras (70), Victoria and Albert Museum (50) and British Museum (10), UK were sampled with compositional analysis undertaken for 18 elements using Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, Egham, UK, complemented with Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) done at Wolfson Technical Laboratories, Institute of Archaeology, University College London.  Lead isotope analysis, a front-line finger-printing method for metal artefacts was undertaken on 60 images using Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) at Oxford Research Laboratory for Art and Archaeology, Oxford, UK.  Ancient mining sites in southern India were explored and slag analyses were undertaken by electron microscopy (SEM-EDS and EPMA-WDS) at Institute of Archaeology, London.

Professional Experience:

Positions and fellowships:

·         -DST-SERC Young Scientist Awardee (2001-2003) for “Metallurgical characterization and corrosion phenomena of high-tin bronzes from ancient India’.

·         -Grant for project on ‘Comparative investigations on copper alloys from India and Sri Lanka’ (2001), from India-Sri Lanka Fund, New Delhi

·         -Research Associate, Dept. of Conservation & Scientific Research, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA (1999), supported by Edwardo Waldo Forbes Fund.

·         -Junior Research Fellow, Ministry of Culture, India in Application of Science and Technology in Art and Archaeology. (1999-2000)

·         -Homi Bhabha Research Fellow in Archaeometallurgy (1996-1998), Department of Metallurgy, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. Academic Visitor to UK and US in Oct.-Dec. 1998

·         -Research Assistant in Resource and Infrastructure Documentation of Karjat Tribal Block.  Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Mar-Aug. 1988).

Academic Prizes and  Scholarships::

·         MRS Graduate Student Award, 1997, Materials Research Society, USA, for paper entitled:  ‘Archaeometallurgical implications of traditional crafts of high-tin beta and high-tin delta bronzes in Kerala state, southern India’

·         Flinders Petrie Prize and Medal from University of London, 1989, for MA Dissertation on ‘Technological aspects of the Use of Stone in Indian temples’

·         British Chevening Scholarship from British Council for Ph.D. at University College London (1990-4)

·         Overseas Research Studentship (ORS), UK for remission of overseas tuition for Ph.D. (1990-4)

·         Charles Wallace Trust-India, UK, Topping-up Award for Ph.D. research in UK (1990-1).

·         Grants from Gordon Childe Fund, Institute of Archaeology, London, and Central Research Fund, University of London, and Ancient India & Iran Trust, Cambridge (1991-2) for fieldwork for Ph.D. thesis

·         Small Study Grant from Nehru Trust for the Indian Collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum, grants from Victoria & Albert Museum, London and British Museum, London, and Institute of Archaeometallurgical Studies (IAMS) for technical analysis and finger-printing of South Indian metal icons including lead isotope ratio analysis undertaken at ISOTRACE laboratory, University of Oxford and ICP-OES undertaken at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, Egham (1992-4).

Selected invited lectures or conference papers (excluding published conference papers listed further)

·         ‘From temple to mantelpiece: changing paradigms in the art and craft of south Indian metal icons’.  Presented at international seminar on ‘South Asian Arts: Past Practice, Living Traditions’ at PRASADA, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, June 2002. 

·         Delegate at International Seminar on Proposed Asian Institute of Museology and Culture in Development, organized by UNESCO and Central Cultural fund, Sri Lanka at Habarana (May 2002)

·         ‘Image casting and high-tin bronze traditions in south India’, Presented at international conference on Metals in Antiquity: Founders, Platers and Smiths at Oxford (Sept. 1999)

·         ‘Ethnographic metal working in India’, Research School for Archaeology, University of Sheffield (Nov. 1999)

·         ‘Finger-printing and authentication of metal icons’, at C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer Indological Foundation, Madras /Chennai (Feb 1999)

·         ‘Finger-printing south Indian images using lead isotope analysis’, at conference of COST-G1 committee on Ion Bean Analysis in Art and Archaeology, European Commission & University of Oxford (Nov. 1998)

·         ‘High-tin bronzes from south India from prehistory into present day: making of beta bronze vessels and delta bronze mirrors’, at Dept. of Materials Science, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, USA, Oct. 1998.

·         ‘Aspects of continuity in copper-base metallurgy and finds of bronzes of high tin from Indus Valley into present day southern India”, Presented at conference The Present and Future of Indus Valley Archaeology, held at 27th Annual Conference on South Asia held at University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998.

·         ‘Dating Chola bronzes: technical insights’, for International Music and Arts Society, Bangalore (Mar. 2000).

·         Delegate invited by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage at 4-day workshop on ‘Stone Conservation’ at National Museum, New Delhi, organized by British Council as part of events of ‘Enduring Image’ exhibition from British Museum, UK, held at National Museum, New Delhi (Dec 1997).  Paper presented on ‘Authentication and finger-printing of metal artefacts’ at associated seminar on ‘Authentification of Museum Artefacts’ at National Museum, New Delhi.

·         Delegate at seminar on ‘Lasers in Heritage Conservation’ organised by Indo-French Technical Association, Bombay and J.J. School of Architecture and Planning, Bombay (Feb 1997).

·         Lectured on ‘Archaeometallurgy of South Indian bronzes’ at Nehru Centre, London and Institute of Indian Culture, London as part of seminars organized by ‘Festival of India’s South’ in UK at British Museum, School of Oriental and African Studies, and Nehru Centre, London (May-June 1966)

·         ‘Crucible steel from South India’ at Seminar on ‘Early Production of Steel’, at Institute of Archaeology, University College London (June 1996). 

·         ‘High tin bronze mirrors from Kerala’, World Archaeology Congress (WAC-3), New Delhi (1994)

·         Delegate proposed by Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai for meet on 'Care and Conservation of Museum Materials' at National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property, Lucknow (Feb 1988)

·         Delegate at workshop organized by Heritage Trust, Baroda University and ICCROM, Rome on ‘Conservation of Architectural Heritage of Champaner, Gujarat’, Dec 1987.

·         Paper presented as co-author (Srinivasan, Sharada & Sarma, Nataraj.) on ‘History of Measurement and Calibration of Time in Bombay’ for the Eighth International Scientific Instrument Symposium of the Society for the History and Philosophy of Science, London, at Burlington House, Society for Antiquaries, 12-16, Sept. 1988

·         Delegate at ‘Site Seminar on the Art of Ajanta’, organized by University of Michigan, Ann Arbour, USA, held at Ajanta caves, Maharashtra, Sept. 1987.

Teaching experience

·         Advisory role for Ph.D. thesis of Arjuna Thantillege, Lecturer, Post-Graduate Institute of Archaeology, Sri Lanka on ‘Archaeometallurgy of Sri Lankan copper alloy images’ and visiting faculty  in Nov. 2002 at Department of Archaeology, Uppsala University, Sweden supported by SIDA in connection

·         Guest lecturer on ‘High-tin bronzes’ at course on ‘Metallography of ancient artefacts’ held by D. Scott of Getty Conservation Institute for ‘Summer School on Conservation’ held at Institute of Archaeology, University College London (July 1993, 1994)

·         Lectured on ‘South Indian bronzes’ for Sotheby’s-SOAS Arts Diploma Course, South Asia Module (Nov. 1993, 1994), School of Oriental and African Studies, London

·         Given few lectures on 'Man and Metals', for First year undergraduates in Archaeology and for Graduate seminars in Archaeometallurgy at Institute of Archaeology, University College London (1994-6)

·         Lectured on ‘Ancient Indian Metallurgy’ for college course on ‘Understanding Science’ organised by National Institute of Advanced Studies & Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, 2003

Avocational experience as performing artiste

Acclaimed exponent of classical South Indian dance or Bharata Natyam in the Pandanallur style:

·         Performed under the aegis of Singapore Fine Arts (1983), School of Oriental and African Studies & Institute of India Culture, London (1988), Mridula Shastri (Lockerbie Memorial) Fund, Oxford (1988), Indo-Austrian Society, Vienna (1991), Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (1986), World Wild Life Fund, Mumbai (1985) and others

·         Acted and performed Bharata Natyam (classical South Indian dance) in documentary film-cum-drama on ‘Nuclear Winter’ screened on Doordarshan National Television in India in 1987

·         Given academic lectures/talks animated by abhinaya or expressive art of Bharata Natyam; for e.g. on ‘The cosmic dance of Siva: an icon of science and beyond’ for SSQ-III meet, NIAS, Bangalore, 2003, and on book readings from translations of Tamil writer Kalki’s ‘Ponniyan Selvan’ (2002-3).

Other qualifications:

·         Certificate in Basic French from Alliance Française, Bombay (1988)

·         Certificate, Basic Mountaineering, Mountaineering Institute, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India (1985)

·         Certificate in Basic Photography from Indo-American Society, Bombay (1984)

·         Language Proficiency in English, Hindi, Tamil, Elementary Sanskrit and French, Kannada


·         Research Publications

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 2001.  Dating the Nataraja dance icon: technical insights. Marg-A Magazine of the Arts 52(4): 54-70.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 2001.  An archaeometallurgical approach in the finger-printing and stylistic authentication of South Indian metal icons. Conservation of Cultural Property (IASC Journal), New Delhi.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1999. Lead isotope and trace element analysis in the study of over a hundred South Indian metal icons.  Archaeometry 41(1): 91-116.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1999. “Preliminary insights into provenance of south Indian copper alloys and images using a holistic approach of comparisons of their lead isotopes and chemical composition with slags and ores”, in Metals in Antiquity. Proceedings of the conference held at Harvard, Sept. 1997. BAR International Series 792. Edited by S. Young, M. Pollard, P. Budd and R. Ixer, pp. 200-11. Oxford: Archaeopress.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1998. “Highlights of ancient south Indian metallurgy-technical evidence for the early use of high-tin bronzes, high-carbon steel, metallic zinc, smelting of bronze and cast images, Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the Beginning of the Use of Metals and Alloy (BUMA-IV), pp. 79-84. Matsue: Japan Institute of Metals.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1998. The use of tin and bronze in prehistoric South Indian metallurgy. Journal of Metals, 50(7):44-7, 49.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1998. “High-tin bronze working in India: The bowl makers of Kerala”, in Archaeometallurgy in India.Proceedings of the First National Seminar held in Oct. 1991. Edited by V. Tripathi, pp. 241-51. New Delhi: Sharda Publishing Ltd.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1997. Present and past of southern Indian crafts for making mirrors, lamps, bells, vessels, cymbals and gongs: links with prehistoric high tin bronzes from Mohenjodaro, Taxila, South Indian megaliths and later finds. Journal of the Society for South Asian Studies 13. 1997: 209-25.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1997. “The composition of bronze slags from Kalyadi in South India, and the implications for the problem of tin in South Indian antiquity”, in Archaeological Sciences 1995.  Proceedings of a conference on the application of scientific techniques to the study of archaeology, Liverpool, July 1995.  Oxbow Monograph Series 64. Ed. A. Sinclair, E. Slater, and J. Gowlett, pp.136-42.  Oxford: Oxbow books.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1994. “High-tin bronze bowl making from Kerala, South India and its archaeological implications.” in South Asian Archaeology 1993.  Annales Acadaemia Scientiarum Fennicae, Series B, Vol. 271. Edited by A. Parpola, A. and P. Koskikallio, pp. 695-705. Helsinki: SuomalainenTiedeakatemia.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1994. Wootz crucible steel: a newly discovered production site in South India. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 5: 49-61. London: University College London.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1994. “Appendix III. Metallurgical investigations on Late Roman copper and bronze coins from Karur and Madurai”, in Late Roman Copper Coins From South India: Karur and Madurai. Edited by R. Krishnamurthy, pp. 121-33. Madras: Garnet Publications.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. and GLOVER, IAN. 1998. High-tin bronze mirrors of Kerala, South India. IAMS Newsletter, 20: 15-7. London: Institute of Archaeometallurgical Studies.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. and GLOVER, IAN. 1997. “Archaeometallurgical implications of new findings of traditional crafts of making high-tin ‘delta’ bronze mirrors and ‘beta’ bronze vessels in Kerala state of South India”, in Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology V, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Vol. 462. Edited by P. Vandivar, J, Druzik, J. Merkel, and J. Stewart, pp. 81-105. Warrendale: Materials Research Society.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA and GLOVER, IAN 1995. Wrought and quenched and cast high-tin bronzes from Kerala state, southern India. Part I. Contemporary manufacture, Part II. Scientific investigations, Part III. Historical dimension. Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, 29(2): 69-87.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA and GRIFFITHS, DAFYDD. 1997. “Crucible steel in South India: Preliminary investigations on crucibles from some newly identified sites”, in Material Issues in Art and Archaeology-IV. Symposium held December 3-5, 1996. Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Series Vol.462. Ed. P. Vandivar, J, Druzik, J. Merkel, and J. Stewart, pp. 111-27. Warrendale: Materials Research Society.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA and RANGANATHAN, SRINIVASA. 1997. “Wootz steel: an advanced material of the ancient world”, in Iron & Steel Heritage of India. Ed. S. Ranganathan, pp. 69-82. Jamshedpur: Indian Institute of Metals & Tata Steel. (http://metalrg.iisc.ernet.in/~wootz/heritage/WOOTZ.htm)

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA and RANGANATHAN, SRINIVASA. 1997. “Metallurgical Heritage of India”,.in Golden Jubilee Souvenir, Indian Institute of Science, pp. 29-36. Bangalore: Indian Institute of Science.


Research papers in press

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA.  ‘Early social history of Indian metal crafts: some archaeometallurgical and ethnoarchaeological perspectives’. In: Chattopadhyay, B.D. (ed.), History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilisation series, PHISPC & Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA.  ‘On icons, vessels and mirrors from south India: Tracing early use of tin, zinc and high-tin bronze’. In P. Bilimoria (ed.). B.V. Subbarayappa Felicitation Volume, D.K. Printworld.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. ‘Chronology and metal sources of South Indian metal icons’, Archaeology as History: South Asia, ed. H.P. Ray and C. Sinopoli. Indian Council for Historical Research and United States Education Foundation in India.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. ‘The cosmic dance of Siva: an icon of science and beyond.’  In Srikantan, B.V. and S. Menon (eds.). Proceedings of international conference on ‘Science and Beyond: Science and Spiritual Quest’ series of John Templeton Foundation at National Institute of Advanced Studies.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA and RANGANATHAN, SRINIVASA. ‘Non-ferrous metals heritage of mankind’. Special Issue of Transactions of Indian Institute of Metals.

·         General interest articles/photo-features/reviews

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA, 13 July 2003, ‘Heritage: Simmering Cauldrons’, The Hindu: Sunday Mag., p. 6.


·         SRINIVASAN SHARADA, 22 June 2003, ‘Heritage: The Nataraja catapulted onto the global stage form sacred environs’, The Week, Vol. 21, No. 29: 60-2.  http://www.the-week.com/23jun22/life2.htm

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA, Feb 5 2002. ‘Nataraja reveals cosmic secrets’, Speaking Tree, Times of India.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. June 2002. ‘Holistic approaches to heritage studies.’ NIAS Newsletter.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. Jan 2002. ‘Copenhagen’ revisited: The Uncertainty Principle as a metaphor for science and society in our nuclear age. NIAS Newsletter.  (Review of play ‘Copenhagen’)

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 1995. “Conference Reviews. World Archaeological Congress (WAC) 3, New Delhi”. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 6: 89-91. London:University College.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. Summer 1991. Reviews: Dance.  Bazaar-South Asian Arts Magazine, B17: 23.  London: Arts Council. (Review of UK-based Shobhana Jeysingh Dance Company’s contemporary Bharata Natyam or south Indian classical dance ballet ‘Correspondences’ on mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 3 June 1990. “Jejuri-Life in a temple town”.  Economic Times, p. 2. Bombay.

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. 31 March 1990. “A Brief History of Time”. Saturday Times, p. 2. Bombay: Times of  India.  (On history of time measurement in old Bombay Presidency).

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. Dec 10-23, 1988. “The Amarnath mystique”, Frontline, Madras. 5 (25): 49-67. (On mountain pilgrimage to Kashmir with 10 published colour photographs including centre-spread.)

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. Feb 1988. “Bombay revisited”, Megacity, pp. 14-8. (On heritage buildings).

·         SRINIVASAN, SHARADA. Dec 1987. “On the Tiger Trail to Melghat”, Indian Express, Bombay. (On World Wildlife Fund Camp)