Monday, January 21, 2008

More on Roman Trade in India

The terracotta head found during the excavation at Kodumanal

The Italian Government has begun to show a welcome interest in the Roman Trail in South India and one of the consequences of this is likely to help in the development of an archaeological park in Arikamedu, 4 km south of Pondicherry and a part of t he Union Territory. As a prelude to this, a fascinating book titled Arikamedu – Its Place in the Ancient Rome-India Contacts, written by Madras archaeologist Dr. S. Suresh, has been brought out by the Embassy of Italy, New Delhi.

For some years now, Suresh has been leading small groups that have followed the Roman Trail in South India on tours organised by INTACH-Tamil Nadu. In his latest book, he spells out that trail in a little more detail, even if his focus is on Arikamedu. The trail stretches from ancient Musiris (generally considered to be Kodunganallur, north of Cochin, but that, Suresh emphasises, is just speculation; “those who claim to go to Musiris, actually go in search of Musiris!”, he feels) to Mylapore.

From Musiris the trail goes to Iyyal on the Trichur-Guruvayur Road where hoards of Roman coins were found in two caves, now called the St. Thomas Caves. Next comes the village of Vellalur, 15 km from Coimbatore, and Perur on the outskirts of the city. Roman coins and pottery have been found in both places and gold Roman jewellery - now in the Madras Museum – in the former. It’s then on to Kodumanal on the north bank of the Noyyal, a tributary of the Kaveri. An iron-processing industry and the manufacture of beads from semi-precious stones were major production activities here in Roman times, the iron ore coming from nearby Chenniamalai and the stones from several neighbouring villages. Excavations at Kodumanal have revealed iron swords and arrowheads, a terracotta head (my picture today), pottery, and Roman coins and gold and silver ornamentation...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

More evidence of Roman trade unearthed in India

"HYDERABAD: Historians have discovered a 25-ft high mound spread over 100 acres at Kondapur in Medak district which they presume to be a Buddhist stupa with myriad segments throwing light on the Buddhist link of the present Telangana region.

The Archaeological Survey of India has decided to excavate the site-dating to 200 BC- 200 AD -from April. If a stupa is unearthed as hoped by the ASI, this will be the first Buddhist site in Telangana, firmly establishing the belief among historians that this region too was part of the Satavahana empire that extended into present Maharashtra and that Kondapur, indeed, was a city that had a direct connection with Paithan...

Historians led by D. Jithendra Das, superintending archaeologist, ASI, Hyderabad Circle, who inspected the mound recently, found it to be “extremely fruitful” with its upper strata already yielding several antiquities without digging.

Nearly 2,000 coins and many coin-moulds, ornaments made of gold and semi-precious stones, beads and terracotta figurines have been recovered from the surface area itself.

A valuable find was a gold coin of the Roman king Augustus."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Roman marching camp found at Glencorse

AN unexpected historical discovery has been made at Scottish Water's site at Glencorse, near Penicuik — a Roman marching camp nearly 2000 years old.
The revelation has provided another clue as to how the Romans organised their occupation of the Lothians.

It had not been confirmed whether the site was, in fact, a Roman marching camp, which had previously only been suggested by aerial photographs.

Scottish Water's stakeholder manager for the Glencorse Water Treatment Works Project Kenny Naylor said: "We carry out a detailed site investigation on all sites as a matter of course, and found a change in the soil when we were digging the ground.

"We quickly contacted the regional archaeologist who was able to confirm the existence of a Roman marching camp on the site."

It is believed the site, which is part of a network of other bases, watchtowers and camps across lowland Scotland, was situated to guard a gap in the Pentland Hills to the northwest of Flotterstone and the line of an east-west Roman road which skirted the foothills of the Pentlands.