Monday, 7 November 2011

With Piracy Photos P.J.Cherian Argues Pattanam is Ancient Muziris

Accession Date and Time 08-11-2011; 8.00AM


Ports and Indian Ocean Exchanges

Convenors: Dr R Tomber (British Museum, London, UK) & Prof PJ Cherian (Kerala Council for Historical Research, Trivandrum, India)
This international research group concentrates on Indian Ocean exchange of the Early Historic and Medieval periods, particularly seen through its ports, and the goods and ideas exchanged between them.
The convergence of textual and archaeological evidence during the Early Historic makes it and subsequent periods especially amenable to the study of exchange. Active archaeological research throughout the rim of the Indian Ocean is providing new finds and stimulating a growing interest in the subject. Informed speculation on the global nature of the economies of these periods can only now be attempted on the strength of this new information regarding the connections, exchanges and interaction among the different ethnic groups, trade sites and partners from different social and political systems.

Figure 1: Main ports of the Early Historic period (A. Simpson)
The group will use port sites as a springboard for investigating broader issues, initially concentrating on the site at Pattanam. A newly discovered, multi-period site excavated by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), Pattanam has revealed diverse finds associated with Indian Ocean exchange including imports from Rome, West Asia and China. These finds, together with its urban character, argue for its equation with the famed ancient site of Muchiri or Muziris to the Romans.

Figure 2: Canoe excavated at Pattanam during the 2007 excavations (Photo KCHR)
The purpose of the research group is to provide a forum for international collaborators, to direct future research at Pattanam (including conservation) and, broadening out from this, establish research agendas and programmes throughout the Indian Ocean. The members comprise land and maritime archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and epigraphers, who have broad expertise throughout the region and have published extensively.

Group members

  • Dr Shinu Abraham (St Lawrence University, USA)
  • Dr Lucy Blue (Southampton University, UK)
  • Prof Robin Coningham (Durham University, UK)
  • Dr Federico De Romanis (Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata", Italy)
  • Dr Derek Kennet (Durham University, UK)
  • Dr Raghava Varier (Arya Vaidyasala Kottackal, Kerala, India)
  • Dr K Rajan (Pondicherry University, India)
  • Dr Steven Sidebotham (Delaware University, USA)
  • Dr V Selvakumar (Tamil University, Tanjore, India)
  • Dr Heidrun Schenk ((Tissamaharama-Projek des Deutschen Archäologischen Institut, Bonn, Germany)
  • Dr KP Shajan (UK)
  • Dr Y Subrayalu (Institut Français de Pondichéry, India)
  • Dr Kesavan Veluthat (Mangalore University)

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