OERTEL, Friedrich Oscar

OERTEL, Friedrich Oscar Emanuel (from 1921 F. O. Lechmere-Oertel). Hannover 9.12.1862 — New York 22.12.1942. German-born Engineer, Architect and Archaeologist in India. Went to India in 1883 giving up his German citizenship, naturalized as British. In 1883-87 assistant engineer on railway & building construction in North-Western Provinces and Oudh, 1887-88 studied architecture in England. Then worked in Public Works Department, Executive Engineer 1902, Superintending Engineer 1908, 1903-07 in Benares, 1908 in Lucknow, 1909-15 in Cawnpore, 1915-20 in Shillong. Retired around 1920. Until 1928 living in Teddington near London, in 1930-32 in Abessinia. In 1933 visited India, then in Cyprus, 1935-36 visited Japan, 1936-37 in Malta. Some time in England, then 1940 to America. Married 1902 Margaret Haywood Lechmere, two children.

In 1891-92 Oertel surveyed archaeological remains in North and Central India, in 1892 in Burma. In 1900 in Sri Lanka planning the preservation of Abhayagiri dagoba in Anuradhapura. In 1904-05 conducted excavations at Sarnath, finding i.a. the lion capital of Aśoka. In 1905-06 worked on preservation of the Agra Fort, in 1909-10, surveyed the Rikhian caves in U.P. He participated in the construction of numerous buildings and in the planning of New Delhi. He was active photographer.

Publications: A Tour in Burma in March and April 1892. 23 p. 42 pl. Rangoon 1893.

– Report on the Restoration of Ancient Monuments of Anuradhapura, Ceylon. Colombo 1903.

– “Excavations at Sarnath”, ASIAR 1904-05, 1908, 59-104; “Some remarks on the excavations at Sarnath carried out in the year 1904-5”, IA 37, 1908, 277-280.

– “Indian architecture and its suitability for modern requirements: a paper read before the East India Association with discussion”, Asiatic Quarterly Review N.S. 2, 1913, 376-406.

Sources: Wikipedia with three photos.

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