Shereen Ratnagar

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Shereen F. Ratnagar is an Indian archaeologist whose work has focused on the Indus Valley Civilization. She is the author of several texts.


Ratnagar was educated at Deccan College, Pune, University of Pune. She studied Mesopotamian archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.[1]

She was a professor of archaeology and ancient history at the Centre for Historical Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She retired in 2000, and is currently an independent researcher living in Mumbai. She is noted for work on investigating the factors contributing to the end of the Indus Valley Civilization.[2]


Ayodhya dispute[edit]

Shereen Ratnagar along with archaeologist D. Mandal spent a day, in 2003, examining the excavations conducted by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI) at the site of the Babri Masjid on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board. Subsequently, the two researchers wrote a highly critical appraisal of the excavations by the ASI titled Ayodhya: Archaeology after Excavation. In 2010, they appeared as expert witnesses for the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case in the Allahabad High Court.[3]

In its judgement on the Ayodhya dispute, the High Court flayed the role played by several witnesses including Ratnagar, who was forced to admit under oath that she had no field experience in archeological excavations in India.[4] Ratnagar and her supporters defend her record by stating that she has participated in some archaeological digs at sites outside India, such as Tell al-Rimah, Iraq, in 1971,[5] as well as in Turkey and the Gulf.[6]

Earlier in the case, Shereen Ratnagar was served a contempt notice for violating a court order restraining witnesses in the ongoing case from airing their views in public.[7]