Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Archaeologists Locate Ancient Indo-Roman Trading Site

"Striking archaeological evidence suggests that the legendary seaport of Muziris, which was a bustling Indo-Roman centre of trade during the early historic period between the first century BC and the fifth century AD, could have been located at Pattanam, near Paravur on the south of the Periyar rivermouth.

What led Dr. K.P. Shajan, geoarchaeologist, and his team to Pattanam was clear geological evidence which suggested that the river Periyar had shifted its course from the south to the north over the millennia. A branch of the Periyar, called the Periyar Thodu, runs close to Pattanam and satellite imagery indicates that the Periyar delta lies on the southern side and the river could have flowed close to Pattanam about 2,000 years ago. This would place the ancient site alongside the Periyar in keeping with the descriptions in literary sources.

The site covers an area of about 1.5 sq km and the deposit is about two metres thick. It has produced fragments of imported Roman amphora, mainly used for transporting wine and olive oil, Yemenese and West Asian pottery, besides Indian rouletted ware common on the East Coast of India and also found in Berenike in Egypt. Bricks, tiles, pottery shards, beads and other artefacts found at Pattanam are very similar to those found at Arikamedu and other early historic sites in India.

The most striking finds from Pattanam are the rim and handle of a classic Italian wine amphora from Naples which was common between the late first century BC and 79 AD, when pottery production in the region was disrupted by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Islamic glazed ware from West Asia indicate that the site remained active beyond the early historic period.

Monday, March 22, 2004

1st and 2nd Century Artifacts Recovered in Naples

"750 Artifacts including 22 high-quality marble and terracotta artefacts from the 1st and 2nd centuries a.C., probably belonging to patrician families from Pozzuoli and Baia who lived in the Roman Empire era, have been recovered by police in Naples. Some of the 350 terracotta artefacts from Cales dating back to the 1st and 2nd century A.C. are still covered in soil. 'These finds have an incredible value - says Paolo Caputo, head of the police archaeology department for Naples and Caserta."