Book title: Indian Zinc Technology in a Global Perspective
Author(s): J.S. Kharakwal
ISBN: 978-81-8274-491-2
Publication Year: 2011
Binding: HB
Pages: 340
Price: Rs. 1500
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About the Book:

Metallurgy had begun in the Indian subcontinent around 6th Millennium BCE. But unlike other metals zinc appeared much later, only a few hundred years ago, on the scene. Being volatile it is one of the most difficult metals to smelt as it forms vapour in the furnace when heated to around 1000°C. Though various claims have been made regarding its remote antiquity across Asia and Europe, only Zawar in India has the oldest archaeological record of pure zinc production on commercial scale.

Pure zinc distillation was perhaps derived fro Ayurvedic preparations. More than 800 years ago the Indians designed brinjal shaped retorts, condensers and special furnaces with downward distillation to obtain pure zinc. This was a unique achievement which is the ancestor of all high temperature distillation techniques in the world and it has no parallels. The Zawar zinc industry is the most unusual phenomenon, a full fledged technology with neither antecedents nor successors. It was a great innovation taking place on a major scale away from Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Zawar metallurgists brought about a breakthrough in non-ferrous metal extraction around the 12th century, thus adding a glorious chapter of India’s contribution to the world of History of Science and Technology. The book presents the story of this glorious chapter of zinc technology in a global perspective but is aimed at the lay reader. Technical data for the specialists are given in three appendices.

About the Author:

J.S. Kharakwal did his PhD under the guidance of Prof. V.N.Misra in 1994 on the Archaeology of Central Himalayan Region from Deccan College, Pune. He has participated in a number of archaeological excavations ranging from the Stone Age to the Iron Age in Karnataka, Maharashtra, M.P., Gujarat and Uttrakhand. He jointly conducted excavations at Balathal for seven years with Prof. Misra and currently leading an Indo-Japanese archaeological research project at Kanmer, a Harappan site in Kachchh, Gujarat.

He has co-authored three books with Prof. d.P. Agrawal i.e., Prehistory of South Asia (2002), Bronze and Iron Ages of South Asia (2003) and Central Himalayas (1998), besides publishing fifty research papers in various national and international journals.

He is a life member of various academic societies such as IPSQS, IAS, PAHAR, RASI, IPPA, SOSSA, JSPS. He has worked as a Fellow of Japan Society for Promotion of Science at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Japan and as a Visiting Professor at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto.

He has participated  in various national and international seminars in several countries such as Japan, Italy, Austria, Turkmenistan, China and Iran. He has organized national and international seminars. Currently he is a senior faculty member at the Department of Archaeology in the Institute of Rajasthan Studies, Udaipur, Rajasthan.

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