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Albert Henry Longhurst– A Pioneering British Archeologist In India

A.H. Longhurst (1876 – 1955) was a pioneering British Archeologist In India. He served as an officer in the Archeological Survey of India (Southern Circle). Albert Henry Longhurst brought to light many ancient sites of great historical interest in India.

Longhurst was the brother-in-law of Sir John Marshall, the Director-General of the Archaeology Survey of India (1902-1928).

Longhurst was one of the earliest scholars to bestow attention on the neglected seaport of town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), known for its rock-cut monuments of the Pallavas.

His pioneering efforts in the preservation of Mamallapuram by the Archeological Survey of India as protected monuments and his studies in their history and art are valuable.
He made a detailed survey and study of the Pallava monuments and published the results in his work Pallava Architecture in three parts in 1924, 1928 and 1930.

He did pioneering work at Hampi in Karnataka which was formerly the capital of the famous Vijayanagara rulers on the banks of Tungabhadra River.

He published the first guidebook on Hampi, entitled Hampi Ruins, in 1925.

Longhurst also displayed great interest in the then newly discovered site of Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh, a historic city and Buddhist center which was the ancient capital of the famous Ikshvaku Dynasty. He conducted detailed excavations at this site and also published his monograph, The Buddhis Antiquities of Nagarjunakonda, in 1938. In his book he has given a detailed description of the locality, the history of the place, the main buildings such as temples, viharas (monasteries), and stupas and antiquities such as carved stone slabs, discovered during explorations. Longhurst also attempted to identify a number of uncommon scenes depicted on these stone slabs related to Buddhist mythology.

Longhurst worte another notable book, entitled The story of the stupa, in which he describes the earliest stupas, their evolution through the ages, the additions made in course of time such as the elaborate and richly carved gateways, and some of the famous stupas in India as well as in Nepal and Myanmar. He also wrote several research papers on Indian Art.

Longhurst served as the Archaeological Commissioner, Archaeological Survey of Ceylon between 1934 and 1940, mainly working at Polonnaruwa but also at Anuradhapura and Sigiriya, concentrating more on conservation/restoration rather than excavation.

Bibliography
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 300 – 301 published by IHRF
The Story Of The Stupa (1979) A.H. Longhurst - Asian Educational Services New Delhi