Shereen Ratnagar

Shereen F. Ratnagar is an Indian archaeologist whose work has focused on the Indus Valley civilization. She is the author of several books and academic textbooks.


Ratnagar was educated at Deccan College, University of Pune. She studied Mesopotamian archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.[1]

She was a professor of archaeology and ancient history at the Centre for Historical Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She retired in 2000, and is currently an independent researcher living in Mumbai. She is noted for work on investigating the factors contributing to the end of the Indus Valley Civilization.[2]

Ayodhya disputeEdit

Shereen Ratnagar along with archaeologist D. Mandal spent a day, in 2003, examining the court-ordered excavations conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the site of the Babri Masjid on behalf of the Sunni Central Waqf Board (the Muslim litigant in the dispute). Subsequently, the two researchers wrote a highly critical appraisal of the excavations by the ASI titled Ayodhya: Archaeology after Excavation. In 2010, they appeared as expert witnesses for the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case in the Allahabad High Court.[3]

In its judgement on the Ayodhya dispute, the High Court flayed the role played by several witnesses including Ratnagar, who was forced to admit under oath that she had no field experience in archaeological excavations in India.[4] Ratnagar and her supporters[who?] defend her record by stating that she has participated in some archaeological digs at sites outside India, such as Tell al-Rimah, Iraq, in 1971,[5] as well as in Turkey and the Gulf.[6][non-primary source needed]

Earlier in the case, Shereen Ratnagar was served a contempt notice for violating a court order restraining witnesses in the ongoing case from airing their views in public.[7]


  • Encounters, the westerly trade of the Harappa civilization, Oxford University Press (1981).
  • Enquiries into the political organization of Harappan society, Ravish Publishers (1991).
  • The End of the Great Harappan Tradition, New Delhi: Manohar, ISBN 81-7304-331-0. (2000)
  • Understanding Harappa: Civilization in the greater Indus Valley, Tulika Books, ISBN 81-85229-37-6 (2002)
  • Mobile and Marginalized Peoples, New Delhi: Manohar (2003)
  • Trading Encounters: From the Euphrates to the Indus in the Bronze Age, Oxford University Press (2nd edition), ISBN 0-19-568088-X (2006)
  • The Other Indians - Essays on Pastoralists and Prehistoric Tribal People, Three Essays Collective (2004)
  • Ayodhya: Archaeology After Excavation, New Delhi: Tulika Books (2007)
  • The Timechart History of Ancient Egypt, Worth (2007). ISBN 190302532X.
  • Makers and Shapers: Early Indian Technology in the Household, Village, and Urban Workshop, Tulika Books (2007).
  • Being Tribal, Primus Books (2010). ISBN 9380607024.


  1. ^ "Shereen Ratnagar". Archived from the original on 26 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Shereen Ratnagar: A past to mirror ourselves" (PDF). Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Trench warfare: Writing on the Wall". Times of India. 16 October 2010. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  4. ^ How Allahabad HC exposed experts espousing Masjid-cause, Times of India, 9 October 2010.Archived 25 August 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Iraq Vol. 34, No. 2 (Autumn, 1972), pp. 77-86. Published by: British Institute for the Study of Iraq
  6. ^ Publisher's statement on Shereen Ratnagar, Trading Encounters (Oxford University Press, 2006) Archived 24 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Babri witnesses get HC contempt notice, Indian Express, Thu 20 May 2010, 04:18 hrs