Ancient and Medieval ports of the Gulf of Mannar Coast, East coast India and their Maritime Connections across Indian Ocean Countries

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Ancient and Medieval ports of the Gulf of Mannar Coast, East coast India and their Maritime Connections across Indian Ocean Countries


The Gulf of Mannar lies in the south-eastern corner of India, bordered by Sri Lanka on the south east. It covers the coast of Tamil Nadu from the island of Rameswaram to Kanniyakumari. This region witnessed extensive long distance maritime activities from the Early Historic period; from 500 BCE to 500 CE. Like other ports of this region, Korkai was part of the Indo-Roman trade activities and literally mentioned in Greek sources. Evidence of Roman contact has been found at the ports of Korkai and Alagankulam. In the Medieval period, Kayal and Periyapattinam were important ports of this region, which is also rich in underwater marine resources and famous for their coral reefs. Stone anchors have been found in this region during surveys by the author. This region has one of the important marine resources venerated by Indians from the ancient period: Turbinella Pyrum. Pearl harvesting was very active in this region for several centuries. It was commercially exploited and exported to many regions in India and beyond. The proposed paper seeks to study the marine archaeological evidence and their importance from the Early Historic period to the medieval period; from 500 BCE to 1600 CE.


N. Athiyaman, in Van Tilburg, H., Tripati, S., Walker Vadillo, V., Fahy, B., and Kimura, J. (eds.)





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