John Marshall (archaeologist)

Sir John Hubert Marshall CIE FBA (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.

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]

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