This site is mostly about my South India research, but its organization and content clearly reflect its faculty web site origins. I retired from teaching in 2007, but my research and publishing continue. I tend to work on questions of a military nature, especially where I feel that I can bring together contemporary documentary evidence and the archaeological record to achieve a better understanding of Early Modern life.

My research centers on the Chitradurga region in central Karnataka between about AD 1500-1850. In 2015 I completed my first attempt at a developmental sequence for major Early Modern construction events at Chitradurga Fort. The data for this project were recent archaeological reconnaissance surveys, unpublished English language translations of local historical accounts compiled by Colin Mackenzie’s staff more than 200 years ago, and published inscriptions. The article describing this sequence is currently in press.

My final project for 2016 was to write a brief history of Mayakonda, a small town about 35 km west of Chitradurga. Mayakonda is of interest because a loose alliance of neighboring rulers besieged it in 1748-49. They also defeated the Chitradurga army and killed its ruler, Hire Madakeri Nayaka, when he came to reclaim it. The battle became a footnote in South Indian history more from the participation of Chanda Sahib, who was an important figure in the French and English struggle for control of the Carnatic, than anything having to do with Chitradurga. I will submit the Mayakonda manuscript for publication consideration in summer, 2017

An ongoing minor research thread, one of a more personal than scholarly nature, is to document abandoned British colonial cemeteries in the region of India where I work. The tombs, gravestones, and even the cemeteries of which they are a part are rapidly disappearing in modern India. My object is to make this information freely available on the web so that some record is accessible to the descendants of those who are buried in these cemeteries.

R. Barry Lewis
Champaign, IL
  21 Dec 2016

Contact Information

Department of Anthropology
607 S. Mathews St, MC-148
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801
Home: (217) 351-7862
Fax (217) 244-3490
email: blewis@illinois.edu