Oxford University is to collaborate with the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) in the Pattanam excavations.

Oxford University will be represented in the excavations, which enters the eighth consecutive year, by Chris Gosden, one of the leading archaeology researchers in the world and director of the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford, and Wendy Morrison, assistant director, Dorchester Project, Oxford University.

This is for the first time in the history of post-Independent India that Oxford University is collaborating with an Indian institution on such a research project, KCHR Director P.J. Cherian said here on Tuesday.

Dr. Cherian said the Government of India had granted licence to him as Director of the KCHR for carrying out the excavations for the eighth year running as recommended by the Standing Committee of the Central Advisory Board of Archaeology of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Besides Dr. Gosden and Dr. Morrison, Preeta Nayar, academic co-ordinator, KCHR, would be co-directors of the Pattanam excavations in 2014, he said.

The Pattanam research activities would be carried out in collaboration with 14 leading institutions in the country, including the ASI, Thrissur circle, CCMB, Hyderabad, Deccan College, Pune, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, Tamil University, Thanjavur, NIAS, Bangalore, and IIT, Roorkee. He quoted Dr. Gosden as saying that that the university is excited about this joint exercise. He hoped that this would help to learn more about the Pattanam site especially its East-West links and to share with Indian colleagues the techniques of excavation and analysis practised in Britain.

Besides Dr. Gosden and Dr. Morrison, a small team of relevant specialists and students of Oxford University would join the excavation, Dr. Cherian said.

The KCHR and Oxford University had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April 2010 when a six-member Oxford University team led by Nicole Boivin of the School of Archaeology visited the Pattanam site and the KCHR.

Oxford University’s involvement in the Pattanam field research would contribute to Indian archaeology by providing opportunities to compare and study the scientific practices followed globally, Dr. Cherian said.