Born in 1922 and educated in the Universities of Mysore and Nagpur, Shikaripur Ranganatha Rao (d. 2013) started his career as Assistant Director of Archaeology in the erstwhile Baroda State in 1947. His services were requisitioned by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1948. He served the Survey in various capacities for over three decades.
Mr. Rao, who was one of the foremost excavators in India, had to his credit the discovery of 50 sites of the Indus Civilization including the famous port-town of Lothal. Among the various Bronze Age sites excavated by him the noteworthy are Rangpur, Lothal and Bhagatrav in Gujarat, and Theur and Shastewadi in Maharashtra. His interest was not confined to the Bronze Age only. He excavated a neolithic site at Paiyampalli and a passage-grave site at Hunur (Mysore) and early historical sites at Kanheri (Maharashtra), Amreli (Gujarat), Aihole (Mysore) and Kaveripattinam (Tamilnadu). In the last mentioned site he found a unique brick wharf going back to 300 B.C.
Mr. Rao had travelled extensively in Europe, U.S.S.R., U.A.R. and Iran and had made a first-hand study of the archaeological material from the west Asian sites. He had participated in international seminars on 'Megaliths' and 'Archaeology of the Bronze Age' and delivered lectures in London, Paris, Rome, Moscow and Leningrad on the subject of his research. In addition to numerous papers on archaeology his publications include Excavations at Rangpur and Other Explorations in Gujarat and Amreli: A Kshatrapa-Gupta Town.