New archaeological find indicates Indo-Roman trade in ancient India

July 16th, 2010 - 5:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 16 (ANI): At least 18 wooden pegs have been discovered in Kodungalloor, Kerala, taking the archaeological finds at Muziris - an ancient port city believed to have existed on the banks of Periyar - a step further.

Unearthed from a depth of four metres, the pegs have pointed edges and are 15-20 cm long.

The discovery is a landmark event in the Pattanam excavation project and is expected to provide new insights on the life and times of the inhabitants of the area centuries ago, according to a top archaeologist.

“Excavation has almost reached the natural layer where no human interventions are identifiable. So the find has come as a surprise to us,” India Journal quoted P J Cherian, head of the Pattanam excavations, being carried out by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), as saying.

To trace their exact age, the pegs will be sent to various authentic science laboratories for radiocarbon dating.

Experts at the Kerala Forest Research Institute have also examined the finds.

Evidences of formation of ‘peat’ were also found in two excavation trenches, he said adding that peat is a spongy layer of botanical remains deposited over a long period of time.

“It could date back to about 25 centuries,” said Cherian.

Several Indian and foreign historians have, for long, debated the existence of Muziris, the ancient port city on Kerala coasts somewhere near Kodungalloor.

Muziris is believed to have key trade links with Romans and Jews. A place called ‘Muchiri’ was referred to in ancient Sangam literature, Indo-Roman travelogues and Graeco-Roman accounts.

Historians believe Arabs, Egyptians and Romans frequented the port in their large ships during first century BC or even earlier.

Many say the port city was washed off from the map of antiquity after the ‘cyclone and flood’ in Periyar in 1341 which even re-shaped the geography and topography of the river and its surrounding places.

The assumptions regarding Muziris took a twist with the striking excavations done by K P Shajan and V Selvakumar at a non-descript village named Pattanam, located near north Paravoor, just 8 km from Kodungalloor across the Periyar.

The pottery shreds they found at the site gave indications about Indo-Roman trade that existed in Kerala centuries back.

With the approval of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), KCHR has been conducting comprehensive researches at Pattanam since 2007.

Brick architectural remains, large Roman storage jars used in ancient times to transport articles like wine and olive oil, West Asian and Arabian pottery, Roman jewellery, glass beads and various copper objects are among the articles unearthed from Pattanam so far. (ANI)

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