This article tries to situate the development of archaeology as a discipline in Bengal in the official and the academic sphere covering the period from the first half of the twentieth century to the early 1960s. The beginning of an official archaeology is seen in the activities of the Archaeological Survey, Eastern Circle, as represented by its annual reports, and may be seen as part of a totalizing mission of the colonial state in the post-Mutiny era. After the dissolution of these reports in 1920–21, Bengal began to feature in a limited way in the annual reports of the Survey, and later in its reviews. The birth of an academic archaeology is traced in the activities of the University of Calcutta. This needs to be seen in the backdrop of an initiative, made by Wheeler, the then director general of the Survey, to promote the study of past heritage in organizations outside the Survey. © 2007, Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.