Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Romans in India

[Hat tip to St. Izzy for sending this to my inbox] Archeologists dig out ancient port
Archaeologists in Kerala have discovered a 2000-year-old port settlement probably dating back to the first BC to third AD, in Pattanam about 50 km from the modern day port city of Kochi.

The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) in its findings suggests that this could be the lost town of Muzires mentioned in early Roman manuscripts when ancient Rome had trade links with South India.

''Periplus mentions that the Roman ship came only up to the coast and they could not directly come up to Muzires. Then smaller boats brought goods from the ships to the site,'' said K Selvakumar, archaeologist.

''This is a Roman amphora piece, the bottom bit amphora was the jar that was meant for transporting wine, olive oil, fish sauce etc. We have found 160 pieces of amphora here,'' said P J Cherian, Director, KCHR.

Research on the site spreading across nearly 24 hectares has just begun and it might take another 10-15 years for the full extent of the settlement to be revealed. But there's evidence that the port settlement was highly developed.

''At the higher level, you find a township, a kind of urban culture evolving brick structures and a pottery that is not local,'' Cherian added.

A two thousand year old sea port, its culture and its people all shrouded in a mystery waiting to be unveiled by the slow and painstaking efforts of the archaeologists.

1 comment:

Mac said...

You of course noticed the name of the Director of the Kerala Council for Historical Research....I ran into a Malayali medical doctor named Leo the other day and commented that he must be Catholic, given that that's a post-Council of Ephesus name and not one of the seven-odd that Oriental Orthodox seem to be confined to. Well no, he was actually Jacobite and his name was really Chacko but people seemed to find it odd here so....