Daniela De Simone
2021 Grant Recipient
Excavations at Bodhgaya, the Site of the Buddha’s Enlightenment: The Mahabodhi temple, Taradih Monastery and Bakraur Stupa
Prof. Daniela De Simone is an archaeologist specialising in the Gangetic Plain region of the early historic period and Assistant Professor of Indian Studies at Ghent University. Previously, she was Curator of the South Asian Archaeological Collections at the British Museum, Assistant Programme Specialist at UNESCO New Delhi and Excavation Supervisor at the site of Gotihawa, an important early Buddhist stupa site in southern Nepal, for the Italian Archaeological Mission to Nepal. She studied Indian Languages and Cultures at “L’Orientale”, University of Naples; she speaks Hindi and reads Sanskrit. Prof. De Simone has co-edited Precious Treasures from the Diamond Throne: Finds from the Site of the Buddha’s Enlightenment (The British Museum, 2021), a volume that includes a series of essays that present new discoveries and fresh descriptive analyses of the collections that have been resting in London museums for over a century.
Prof. De Simone is the lead researcher and coordinator of this publication project funded by the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program. By reappraising archaeological, artistic and epigraphical evidence, she will chart the development of the Mahabodhi temple complex from shrine to temple. Prof. De Simone will also investigate the relationship between the Mahabodhi temple and the Taradih monastery and Bakraur stupa with Prof. Abhishek Singh Amar, Associate Professor, Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) (Co-applicant 1). Dr. Vishi Upadhyay, Curator, Bihar Museum (Patna) (Co-applicant 2) will produce a catalogue of the sculptures and small finds excavated at the Mahabodhi temple, Taradih monastery, and Bakraur stupa. Dr. Francesco Bianchini, Heidelberg University, will re-edit and re-translate inscriptions in Indic languages.