Archaeologists say ancient Indians had maritime links

By RIA Novosti

New Delhi : Excavations at the Kerala state in southwest India suggest that its ancient habitants may have had maritime links with the Mediterranean and China over 2,500 years ago, the Hindu newspaper said Wednesday.

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Archaeologists dug up several wooden fragments from boats dating back to around 500 B.C. at Pattanam, a town along the Malabar coast, where earlier signs of habitation from the Iron Age period have been unearthed.

“The artifacts recovered from the excavation site suggest that Pattanam, with a hinterland port and a multicultural settlement, may have had links with the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the South China Sea rims since the Early Historic Period of South India,” the newspaper quotes P. J. Cherian, head of the Kerala Council for Historical Research, as saying.

The outskirts of Pattanam are believed to be the site of the lost city of Muziris, Ancient India’s most important trade center with the Roman Empire, which mysteriously disappeared at the end of the 1st century AD.

A second excavation at the site, including underwater exploration, is set to begin in February.