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History is the analysis and interpretation of the human past enabling us to study continuity and change that are taking place with passage of time. It is an act of both investigation and imagination that seeks to explain how people have changed over the period. Historians use all forms of evidence to examine, interpret, revisit, and reinterpret the past. These include not only written documents, but also oral communication and other tangible objects, such as buildings, coins, inscriptions, stupas and monasteries, artifacts, photographs, paintings, etc. Historians are trained in the methods of discovering and evaluating these sources and the challenging task of making historical sense out of them.

In order to make significant contribution in reconstructing the Pre-historic, Proto-historic and early historical periods of Nalanda and other Buddhist sites of the country, Department of Ancient Indian and Asian Studies was established in 1976-77 in Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda which was initially functioning as a Research Institute of Pali and Buddhism affiliated to Magadha University, Bodhgaya under the control of Government of Bihar. Later on the nomenclature of the department was changed as Department of Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology.

The Department offers Post-Graduation in Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology in two years /four semesters under CBCS system. It also offers Ph.D. programme encompassing all the specializations like political and cultural history of ancient India and South and South-East Asian countries, pre-history, proto-history, epigraphy, numismatics, archaeology, art and architecture, etc. with special reference to Buddhism. The Department offers Ph.D. programme on various topics related to ancient history, culture and archaeology.

As Nava Nalanda Mahavihara has been established on the foot print of Ancient Sri Nalanda Mahavihara, the Department of Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology offers one paper of the different aspects of Buddhism in Post-Graduation level and two subsidiary papers on the historical aspects of Buddhism in B.A. (Hons.) in Pali course. The courses dealing with archaeological studies provide basic concepts, theoretical training in field methods including process of archaeological investigation, excavation techniques, methods of data retrieval, chronology and dating methods etc. In order to have practical experience and enhancement of archaeological skills the students of final semester were sent at various excavation sites in the country.

The Department of Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology is one of the oldest departments of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara. Many established historians naming a few as Prof. C.S. Upasak, Prof. D. K. Banerjee, Prof. Arun Kumar Sinha, Prof. Vidyanand Upadhyay, Prof. Vinod Kumar Sinha, Dr. S.B. Singh, Dr. P.S. Srivastava etc. have served the Department in various capacities and have contributed in its furtherance.

Presently the Department is functioning and managed successfully by Dr. P.K. Das (Head), Prof. C.B. Mishra and Dr. Jitendra Kumar.