This Act provides for the preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains.The Government will have the power to declare monuments to be protected monuments and to declare archaeological sites and remains to be protected areas. The Director may, with the sanction of the Government, purchase, take lease or assume the guardianship of any protected monument, for its protection or preservation. The Government may also enter into a written agreement with the owner of any protected monument for its maintenance and preservation. In addition, the Central Government may impose restrictions on proprietary rights in protected areas or may acquire a protected area for public purposes.The Act further provides for: granting of licences for excavation activities in protected areas; compulsory acquisition of antiquities for their preservation; powers of the Government to control the moving of antiquities; compensation for loss or damage; offences and penalties; etc.
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The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture.