Ashes of John Merwin Fritz, a London-based archaeologist, immersed in the Tungabhadra waters at Hampi March 09, 2023 09:36 pm | Updated 09:36 pm IST - KALABURAGI

12 Mar 2023 95 Views

John Merwin Fritz passed away in London on January 23 this year
John Merwin Fritz passed away in London on January 23 this year | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The ashes (asthi) of John Merwin Fritz, an 83-year-old London-based archaeologist and anthropologist, who died in London on January 23 this year, were, as per his wishes, immersed in the Tungabhadra waters at Hampi on Sunday.

Fritz was an internationally acclaimed archaeological researcher who made notable contribution to research on the great imperial city of Vijayanagara.

As per his wishes, his cremation was carried out according to Hindu rituals in London and the ashes were immersed in the Tungabhadra waters. His grandson Williams performed the ash-immersion rituals at Hampi.

Fritz’s daughter Alice Chandra Fritz and his friends John Gollings and George Michell were among those present at the Hampi ceremony.

“Fritz was very fond of India, especially Hampi. As per his wishes, his ashes were submerged in the Tungabhadra waters. His other wish was to complete the Vijayanagara Research Project which he started 30 years ago. I am also part of the project with a specific assignment of mapping surface archaeological features and I have finished it. We will try to complete the entire project,” Surendra Kumar, a Hampi-based researcher, told The Hindu.

Born on December 29, 1939 at Glendale of California in the United States, Fritz had settled down in London.

His work, Paleo-Psychology Today (1978), anticipated not only new directions in archaeology but also what would become the core of his research and publications regarding the symbolic features of past architectural monuments and structures, including aspects of both the Chaco site in New Mexico and, most substantively, the grand imperial city of Vijayanagara at Hampi in India.

In April 1981, Fritz joined George Michell, an architect from Australia, for archaeological research of Hampi. Over the next 20 years, he and George Michell ran an independent field camp in the middle of the ruins in Hampi. Together with the many scholars who became involved in what came to be known as the Vijayanagara Research Project, Fritz published extensively, editing the two-volume “Vijayanagara: Archaeological Exploration, 1990-2000”, and, together with George Michell, issued a popular guidebook on the site.

Their jointly authored “City of Victory” published in 1991 by Aperture in New York was the first of the several superbly illustrated volumes. They gifted much of the project’s maps and drawings to the British Library. Before his death, Fritz made a bequest to the American Trust for the British Library to fund a one-year cataloguing post for the collections.


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