The Production of Mughal Heritage in Northern South Asia


Caravanserai spaces (palatial rest-stops on medieval caravan routes) are of particular interest as places with historic associations and as spaces where historic memory can be actively formed. The detailed recording and analysis of these transit and trade vestiges is the directive of the long-term Caravanserai Networks Project. This research has focused on Mughal period caravanserais (1500-1900 CE) located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Provinces of Pakistan, examining how these structures were intended to be used during the Mughal rule of South Asia and how they were reused in the periods that followed (Sikh, Afghani, British, and Pakistani). These trajectories of use continue into the present and at each site there is a unique and nuanced life history. Such unfolding histories anchor our relations to these structures today; not just as historic artifacts to some distant and abstract past but as active places of identity maintenance and as heritage and tourist sites; where site management involves balancing expectations toward tourism, education, protection, preservation, and development. This presentation will outline the work completed on sites in northern Pakistan, present the projects expansion into northern India, and consider the contributions of this research to broader international heritage and traditional landscape dialogues.


Jennifer Campbell is Assistant Professor with the Department of Anthropology, State University of New York at Potsdam. She holds her degrees from the University of Toronto (Ph.D.) and Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research interests include architectural life histories, trade, complex societies, and cultural heritage. She is currently the Co-Director of the Caravanserai Networks Project in Northern Pakistan and Northern India, and is Director of Architectural Heritage of Upstate New York. Forthcoming publications include “Surveying and Recording Standing Architecture: an Archaeological Approach” for the Journal of Field Archaeology, and “Edging an Empire: The Effect of Edge Proximity on Cores and Peripheries in Mughal South Asia” for the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.


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