Helen Philon, an independent scholar and cofounder of the Deccan Heritage Foundation, discusses the role of education and local involvement in the preservation of monuments in India’s Deccan region.
Philon is an archaeologist and scholar, and she participated in archaeological excavations in Iran and worked in Iraq and Syria before focusing her intellectual interests on India. She has published many works and established herself as a leading expert in the field. While studying the Deccan region for her doctoral dissertation, she developed the desire to preserve its monuments and ancient architecture for posterity. Her vision grew from an affinity for places, like the Deccan, that serve as crossroads or meeting points between different identities and different worlds. With her colleague at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and expert on India Dr. George Michell and Mary Anne Cordeiro, a scientist, she helped found the Deccan Heritage Foundation and now sits on the board of trustees of both the U.K. and the U.S. foundations. Philon received an MPh in pre-Islamic art and presented her PhD thesis on the architecture of the Bahmani dynasty in the Deccan from SOAS, University of London.