The material culture of two distinct geopolitical units: West Bengal, a sovereign independent neighbouring nation, isdiscussed in detail in this beautifully illustrated, scholarly volume. The editorial task has been shared by two eminent art historians, - Prof. Pratapaditya Pal of India and Prof. Enamul Haque of Bangladesh. Followers of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions, and dating from12th century, followers of Islam, have contributed significantly to the history and culture of Bengal. No less is the contribution of the British and other European powers, the French, the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Danes and Armenians, who strutted the stage of Bengal in the 17th century.
Prof. Samir Kumar Mukherjee discusses in detail the recent excavations at Mangalkot, Pandu Rajar Dhibi, and chaeological evidence traces the history of the region from its proto-historic days in the 1st millennum BCE. The occupational deposits divided into seven successive periods range from chalcolithic to the Mughal period. The antiquities unearthed comprise seals and sealings, silver and copper coins, terracotta figurines and objects, hosuehold objects of utilitarian use, beads of semi-precious stones, and ceramics including Black and Red ware and northern Black Polished ware. The second part of the essay deals with the town of Burdwan and its environs.