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Oxford archaeologists unrav el the past of Pattanam

Oxford archaeologists unravel the past of Pattanam


Post ed by T A NN
A r ch a eoHer it a g e, A r ch a eolog y , A sia , Br ea k in g n ew s, In dia , Sou t h A sia
7 :0 0 PM

Ox ford archaeologists working at Pattanam, located 25 km north of Kochi,


hav e confirmed that it was an Indian port frequented by Romans and hav e
put to rest doubts about the antiquity of the site.

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Oxford Univers ity archaeologis ts collaborate w ith Kerala Council for His torical
Res earch at the Pattanam s ite [Credit: Thulas i Kak k at/The Hindu]

If the ex cav ations and surv ey s go as planned, the UK team might also hav e
answers to questions such as why Pattanam was chosen to create a major
trading facility and how the once flourishing city disappeared.
Pattanam has a long history of habitation dating back to 1 0 century BCE and
its trade links with Rome peaked between 1 st century BCE and 4th century CE.
Some ex perts hav e identified Pattanam as part of the lost port town of Muziris
described in ancient Tamil and Roman tex ts.
The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), which has been
conducting ex cav ations at Pattanam since 2007 , signed a memorandum of
understanding with the School of Archaeology , Univ ersity of Ox ford, in 201 0.
Now, a team headed by Chris Gosden and Wendy Morrison hav e commenced
ex cav ations along with ex perts from the KCHR. The UK ex perts plan to use
airborne surv ey ing techniques such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)
to map and understand the surface characteristics of this settlement.

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Prof Chris Gosden, who is the Chair of European Archaeology and an ex pert in
landscape studies and Eurasian connections, told The Hindu that the focus of
their work was to study the formation of the landscape and geomorphological
features of the settlement, and, then, contex tualise the ex cav ations. They
would use data gathered from fieldwork and aerial surv ey s.
Prof. Gosdens initial impression is that Pattanam probably witnessed fierce
monsoon rains in the past and the landscape was considerably v olatile. He is
of the v iew that Pattanam was a part of riv er delta and the presence of sand
bars and islands may hav e contributed to its growth as a trading post.
To a question on whether Pattanam was the lost port town of Muziris, he said
that it is not a question of utmost importance to him. There is rich ev idence to
show considerable ex change between two important powers in the world
(India and Rome) then. To study the relationship and the process is critical,
he said.

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Dr Wendy Morrison, who has done ex tensiv e work in Dorchester, a Roman


archaeological site in UK, said that the Ox ford team was happy to collaborate
with the KCHR and the MoU between them would also enable an ex pedition
from Pattanam to come to UK to ex cav ate at Dorchester. Such ex change of
ex pertise would enrich mutual understanding of archaeological traditions,
added Dr P.J. Cherian, Director, KCHR.
Author: A. Srivathsan | Source: The Hindu [April 1 6, 201 4]
Posted by TANN on 7 :00 PM. Filed under ArchaeoHeritage,
Archaeology , Asia, Breakingnews, India, South Asia . You can follow
any responses to this entry through the RSS 2 .0

1 comments for Oxford archaeologists unravel the past of Pattanam


Bahu virupaksha
April 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

The identification with Muziris of the Peutinger Map seems far fetched

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