Since the dramatic discovery and tragic destruction of the monument in the 19th century, the Amaravati stupa in the south-east Deccan has attracted many scholars but has also left many unanswered questions. Akira Shimada's Early Buddhist Architecture in Context provides an updated and comprehensive chronology of the stupa and its architectural development based on the latest sculptural, epigraphic and numismatic evidence combined with the survey of the early excavation records. It also examines the wider social milieu of the south-east Deccan by exploring archaeological, epigraphic and related textual evidence. These analyses reveal that the flowering of the stupa was not a simple accomplishment of the powerful Satavahana dynasty, but was the result of the long-term development of urbanization of this region between ca. 200 BCE-250 CE.
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Akira Shimada, PhD (2006) in History, University of London, is Assistant Professor of History at State University of New York at New Paltz. He is co-editor of Buddhist Stupas in South Asia: Recent Archaeological, Art-Historical and Historical Perspectives (Oxford, 2009).
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