ARCHAEOLOGYOF VIDISHAAND SANCHI HILL
The primary framework used to date newly documented material in the SSP was provided by excavation sequences and arthistorical typologies at Vidisha and Sanchi (Figure 9.1 colour; Tables 9.1, 9.2), which provide the central focus of this chapter. However, because of the divergent time-scales and phasing systems used at these two sites, a level of synchronisation was required in order to produce a coherent regional chronological framework for the region. Further adjustments were needed in order to take account of recent revisions in art-historical and archaeological scholarship. It was also necessary to return to earlier nineteenth-century site reports, including maps and photographs, in order to shed further light on objects whose provenance was not made explicit in earlier studies. The resulting chronological framework is explained further in chapter 10. In the second half of this chapter, I will examine aspects of Sanchi’s immediate archaeological context beyond the largely Buddhist and monumental focus of earlier studies. This will involve discussion of non-Buddhist cult spots, habitational settlements and watermanagement schemes both on and below Sanchi hill. Although most of these features belong to separate ‘Site Groups’, taken together they comprise what may be envisaged as a coherent ‘early historic complex’ which provides a working model for examining temporal and spatial relationships between similar categories of Site Groups throughout the SSP study area.