More Romans in India?

We’ll keep our eye on developments from this one … a big chunk out of an item in the Times of India:

The sixth season of the Pattanam excavations at North Paravur near Kodungalur have found 2,000 ancient pottery shreds, which according to the experts of Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), are unique and new to the archaeological world.

According to KCHR, which leads the excavation process, the findings are different from the already known Mediterranean, West Asian, Harappan and Chinese pottery remains and an international expertise is required to shed more light on it. Remains of a human skeleton were also found in one of the sites, which will be sent for DNA examination.

KCHR head of Pattanam excavations P J Cherian, said new findings will be addressed at an international workshop which the council is planning in collaboration with the British Museum, London. “No expert associated with the project was able to identify the shreds, with anything found elsewhere in the world. It is a challenge for the archaeological community. KCHR is hoping that the latest findings would throw light on the unknown aspects of Indian Ocean maritime traditions, culture and civilization,” Cherian said.

KCHR is pinning hopes on national and international experts, who will participate in the five-day workshop planned in September this year, with the support of the British Academy of South Asian Studies. “The soil condition in Kerala is not good enough to preserve ancient relics and the skeletal remains we found were very fragile. But, DNA process is possible. and we will conducting it soon.

The skeleton might belong to a Roman or an Indian. someone of Indian origin. [...]

Sadly, there aren’t any details yet why they would think this might be a Roman … it would be nice to know if this is a necropolis type thing too; they have found Roman potsherds in the area (e.g.: Muziris Update (?)) …

More Evidence of Romans in India

A tantalizing incipit from a piece in the Times of India:

A team of archeologists have excavated Roman silver coins at Anuvanahalli in Tarikere taluk in Chikmagalur.

It is now believed that the Romans might have tried to trade in medicinal plants which were found abundantly in the region given that the site looks like a herbal medicine preparation plant. A team of experts are working on the site focusing on the possible reasons for the Romans’ interest in the area. The team led by N S Rangaraju, professor of ancient history and archaeology, the University of Mysore, commenced the project with the funding from the UGC and excavated many items that date back to prehistoric, neolithic and megalithic cultures.

“During the excavation at Anuvanahalli, we have excavated four Roman coins. A few Roman pottery pieces have also been unearthed from the site,” Rangaraju said on Saturday.

The team also got many stone weights in different sizes and shapes. “This is leading us to believe that this site might have been used as herbal medicine preparation centre during the Shatavahana period. A team comprising retired IFS officer D R Ramesh Singh, biochemistry professor Vishwanath and botany professor Ganeshaiah has visited the site and research is on,” he told reporters at the excavation site.

Given the evidences, it can be argued that Chikmagalur district, which was famous for medicinal plants, might have attracted the Romans to trade in herbal medicines. This is the first time in hundred years that Roman coins have been found in Karnataka. The last time they were excavated was in 1909 at Chandravalli, he said. [...]

It would be nice if they had a bit more detail on the coins — the Shatavahana period is rather lengthy (230 B.C. to 220 A.D. or thereabouts). Some of our previous coverage of news relating to Roman finds in India:

see also: Indian Artifacts from Berenike? and the links contained therein.