Finds at excavation site support `Spice Route`
Last Updated: Saturday, March 05, 2011, 09:04
Mumbai: Remains at an excavation site in Kerala's ancient port town of Vizhinjam have given further push to the state's bid to get UNESCO heritage status for the 'Spice Route' used for trade with the outside world centuries ago.

For over 2,000 years, Kerala has been a key player in Indian Ocean commerce and its trading partners have included the Roman Empire, Arabian Gulf and Far East, their merchants driven there by the ancient world's love for spices, especially pepper.

Vizhinjam is mentioned in medieval inscriptions. It was once the capital of the Ay dynasty which ruled southern Kerala from the 8th to 10th century AD. However, its history prior to this period has always remained something of a mystery. Now, an exciting new project is underway that is slowly revealing its early past.

Ajit Kumar of Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala, in collaboration with Robert Harding of the Civilisations in Contact Project (funded by the Golden Web Foundation), University of Cambridge, has commenced excavation at Vizhinjam with a view to understand the town's cultural antiquity and chronology.

Two trenches have been laid and several interesting pottery types recovered. While the majority is of local and South Tamil Nadu origin, there are a number of distinct foreign pottery types that are of significance, Kumar said.

A distinctive amphora base and a side section of an amphora with bitumen coating have been found, along with two smaller amphora shreds, he said.


First Published: Saturday, March 05, 2011, 09:04

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