Home > Programs > Tibet

Trans-Himalayan Archaeology: Population Movements and Material Interactions, from Prehistory to the Buddhist period

by Lemardelé Élise - published on

Principal Investigator : Laurianne BRUNEAU (EPHE, PSL University)

Disciplines History, Civilisations, Art and Archaeology from the Ancient and Medieval Worlds (section 21 of the CNU)

Participants :

Full Members

Laurianne Bruneau

Associate Members

Amy Heller, Pascale Dollfus (Research Fellow, CNRS, Centre for Himalayan Studies: CEH/UPR299); Chamsia Sadozaï (Associate Researcher, Labex AE&CC, Laboratoire CRAterre-ENSAG); Martin Vernier (Research Associate, Archaeology of Central Asia team, “settlements, environments and techniques” ArScAn/UMR7041); David Sarmiento-Castillo (Archaeology of Central Asia team, “settlements, environments and techniques” ArScAn/UMR7041).

International Collaborators

Mark Aldenderfer (Professor, University of California, Merced, USA); Jean-Luc Epard (Professor, Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, Lausanne University, Switzerland); Zafar Iqbal (PhD Candidate, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan); Jason Neelis (Lecturer, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada); Vinod Nautiyal (Professor, HNB University of Garhwal, Srinagar, Uttarakand, India); Pradeep M. Saklani (Professor, University of Garhwal, Srinagar, Uttarakand, India); M. Ajmal Shah (Lecturer and Curator, Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University, India); Murtaza Taj (Lecturer, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan).

PhD Candidates

Samara Broglia de Moura ; Marion Poux ; Nils Martin.


The “Trans-Himalayan Archaeology” program stems from the "Archaeology, Arts and
Material Culture of the Tibetan World" project that was developed by the TBACT team
between 2013 and 2018.

This new project proposes for the first time to recognize trans-Himalayan archaeology (from the Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan to the west, to the Mustang Valley in Nepal to the east, across the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan and those of Ladakh and Spiti in India) as a discipline in its own right and on an international level, on a par with the archaeology of Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau.

The Trans-Himalayas, characterized by several very high mountain ranges (the Pamir, Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Himalayas) is not only an important region for the study of population movements and material interactions between three great cultural areas (Central Asia, India and Tibet) over time (from Prehistory to the Second Diffusion of Buddhism at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC) — it was also home to local cultures about which almost everything remains to be discovered.

The project’s first focus will be the region’s rock art and will aim to establish a supra-regional database for these vestiges. A second line of inquiry will deal with the introduction of Buddhism, based, to a large extent, on the results of the Franco-Indian archaeological project in Ladakh (MAFIL). A third aspect of the project is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the region’s cultural heritage, for example, by setting up a plan for the conservation of the Leh Choskor site in Ladakh.