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Report to ASI from KCHR 2007

 
Compare the findings of pattanam excavation by kchr in2007 withfindings of 2004 in his trial digging

2004 ലെ കണ്ടെത്തലിന്റെ പട്ടികയും 2007 ലെ കെ സി എച്ച് ആർ പറയുന്ന പട്ടികയും താരതമ്യം ചെയ്യു

 

 

EXCAVATIONS AT PATTANAM 2007 - A REPORT

 

 

 

 

DRAFT COPY SUBMITTED TO A.S.I TO INDICATE

THE PROGRESS OF THE PREPARATION OF THE REPORT

[Citation / publication with permission only since some information may need verification]

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.J.Cherian

Director

 

 

V.Selvakumar and K.P. Shajan

Co-Directors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerala Council for Historical Research

P.B 839, Vyloppilly Samskrithi BhavanNalanda, Thiruvananthapuram – 695 003

Tel : 0471- 2310409 / 6574988Mail : kchr@sancharnet.in / kchrtvm.gmail.com

Website : www.keralahistory.ac.in

 

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page No.

 

Chapter 1. Introduction 3

 

Chapter 2. Cultural Sequence and Chronology 8

 

Chapter 3. The Trenches 10

 

Chapter 4. Important Finds 16

 

 

Appendices I. Photographs

II List of Antiquities

 

 


Chapter I

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Pattanam is the first site on the Malabar Coast to yield a variety of archaeological evidence on the Indian Ocean trade, especially the Indo-Roman. The significance of the site is that, until its discovery, the few Roman coin hoards, the classical literary sources, travel accounts and legends, were the only sources to validate the pivotal role of the Malabar Coast in the Indo-Roman trade. While many port sites have been investigated with success on the Coramandal coast ever since the excavation of Arikamedu by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1945, no evidence for settlement or port activity associated with the Indo-Roman trade could be unearthed on the Malabar Coast. The twentieth century thus remained barren as far as the Malabar Coast is concerned, in spite of the best efforts by many researchers. The lacuna that persisted despite the abundance of textual references on the port towns of Malabar Coast and the discovery of numerous Roman coin hoards across Kerala, is quite surprising and intriguing. Though various theories were put forward on the location of Muziris, Tyndis, Becare and Nelykynda using textual references and toponymic inferences, only very minimal field explorations were undertaken to identify them. Against this backdrop, the present research at Pattanam undertaken by KCHR has given a major boost not only to the archaeology of Indian Ocean trade, but to the Kerala archaeology in general.

 

History of Research

 

The history of research at Pattanam though does not extend back much beyond a decade, the search for Muziris Roman port site on the mid Kerala coast - had begun much earlier. Hence it would be appropriate to briefly sketch the history of research on the Muziris.

 

From the nineteenth century onwards, the Muziris has been identified as located somewhere near Kodungallur or Cranganur (Logan 1887). Since then, scholars have extensively commented on Muziris and its location. Anujan Achan who was the Director of Archaeology, Cochin State in the 1940s, excavated the site of Cheraman Parambu in 1945-46 (Achan 1946), but failed to find any Early Historic or Roman material. Subsequently, K.V.Raman excavated the site of Thiruvanchikulam in 1969-70 (Raman 1970) and there too no Early Historic material could be located. Rajan Chedambath explored Kodungallur area and the area to the east of the Pullut river for Early Historic materials, but those surveys mainly produced megalithic burial sites and medieval habitation sites. Gurukkal and Whittaker (2001) while discussing the location of Muziris, presented a strong case for Kodungallur. Several scholars (Narayanan, Veluthat, Sreedhara Menon) have expressed their views on the location of Muziris and it would be beyond the scope of this work to present them all. While majority of them held the view that the Muziris was in and around Kodungallur, Kesari Balakrishna Pilla argued that it could be somewhere near Paravur.

 

In 1983, a major hoard of Roman gold coins was unearthed from a sand dune at Kochal in Valluvally about 7 km southeast of Pattanam. Many of the coins from this hoard were sold to antique dealers and only a few could be recovered by the Kerala State Archaeology Department. In 1985, a hoard of silver punch marked coins were unearthed at Kodussery near Angmaly. There are several locations in this area where people report finding of Roman or Punch marked coins during routine activities. But those had never come to the notice of academicians or government agencies (Chedambath 1997).

 

Explorations and salvage excavations conducted by various individuals (Gurukkal 1987, Rajan Chedambath 1997, Cherian 1996-1998, Shajan 1998) and institutions such as Union Christian College [Centre for Ecological and Archaeological Studies] and Kerala State Archaeology Department had brought to light several megalithic burial sites in the Lower Periyar basin. However, habitation remains related to the megalithic period remained as elusive as ever. In this context of paucity of material evidence for the Early Historic Indo-Roman trade on the Malabar Coast, the discovery of Pattanam can be said to be a major breakthrough.

 

The site was first located by Shajan K P (1998) based on the information given by Mr. Vinodan, a resident of Pattanam. The surveys and explorations (1996-98) by the archaeology students of the Centre for Ecological and Cultural Studies, U C College Alwaye also paved the way towards identifying the latent potential of the site. Subsequently, the site was investigated by a group of researchers in 2003 and 2004 and a hypothesis that, it could be the location of ancient Muziris was put forth (Shajan et al. 2004, 2005, 2006). In 2004, trial excavations were undertaken at the site by the Centre for Heritage Studies and a preliminary culture-chronological sequence was proposed (Selvakumar et al. 2005; Shajan and Selvakumar 2006; Tomber 2005). Intensive and systematic surface surveys were undertaken at this site by Shinu Abraham in 2005 and 2006 (Abraham 2005, 2006). Against this backdrop, the research at Pattanam was initiated by the KCHR under the aegis of the Muziris Heritage Project of the Kerala Government.



-- Edited by Admin on Wednesday 30th of September 2015 11:54:30 AM

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Muziris Heritage Project

Muziris Heritage Project is an attempt at retrieving the historical heritage of the Kodungallur-Paravur region. It involves archaeological and historical research, documentation and publication. The project proposes to research, conserve and manage the historical, archaeological, ecological and cultural resources of the Kodungallur region, covering the Lower Periyar Basin, lying between North Parur in the south and Mathilakam in the north, down to the Arabian Sea from Krishnankotta and Mala in the east. The project further explores the possibility of conservation, renovation and reconstruction. The constructions of heritage museums, site museums, publications are also the objectives of the project.

The major historical sites covered by this project include Kottapuram Fort, Cheraman Parambu, Thiruvanchikulam Temple, Cheraman Masjid, Tali Shiva Temple, Sri Kurumba Bhagavathy Temple, Krishnan Kotta, Kottayil Kovilakam, Chennamangalam Synagogue, Jewish Cemetery, Vaippincotta Seminary, Holy Cross Church, Palium Dutch Palace, Pallipuram Fort, St Thomas Church and Kodungallur Kovilakam. KCHR, identified as the nodal agency for Muziris Heritage Project provides academic guidance and undertake archaeological / historical researches in the region. The implementation agencies are Tourism, Archaeology and Revenue Departments of the state.

Pattanam: Location and Nature

Pattanam (Lat. Long) is a hamlet under Vadakkekkara revenue village in Paravur taluk of Ernakulam District in Kerala (Fig. 1). The site is located in the delta of the river Periyar, about 25 km north of Ernakulam/Kochi. About one km south of the site flows the Paravur Todu, a distributary of the river Periyar, which flows around 6 km north of Pattanam. The Arabian Sea is about 4 km west of the site. About one km from the western boundary of the site is the Tattapally River or Munambam kayal, a backwater body that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea and separates the Vaipin island from the mainland.

 

The archaeological site Pattanam is densely populated and is owned by private parties. The site has been considerably disturbed by various activities including digging for house construction, wells, ponds, and agricultural activities. An area of 50 m x 50 m in the northeastern part of the site was dug to build the road from Pattanam to Kunjitai. For a new visitor the Pattanam mound is imperceptible, only intensive walking and observation would expose the mound that has more than 3 metre of cultural deposit at its maximum. The digging by the local people often had exposed from time to time some Early Historic artifacts across the site. Another noteworthy feature of the site is the network of canals linking the area with the Paravur todu and the Tattappally river, and many residents remember that these canals were used by boats till the late 20th century.

 

Objectives of the 2007 Excavations

 

The research programme initiated by KCHR at Pattanam is multi-disciplinary and multi-seasonal in scope. It seeks to evolve a holistic understanding of the site and its historical context with the involvement by historians, archaeologists, social scientists and natural scientists. The main objectives of the research at Pattanam are

 

a. To better understand the cultural and chronological sequence at the site using scientific dating methods;

b. To understand what kind of activities were undertaken at this site, how people organized their activities and adapted according to the environmental conditions;.

c. To investigate the layout of the settlement and its spatial organisation.

c. To reconstruct the paleo-environment and its impact on the location of the site.

d. To understand the nature of occupation and way of life of the earliest settlers, i.e. the ‘megalithic’ communities.

e. To trace the link between the history of the site and the oral traditions prevalent among the occupants.

f. To evaluate the role of Pattanam in the Indian Ocean trade and its overseas contacts.

g. To know if the site has any link with the ancient port of Muziris.

 

Though finding the link between Muziris and Pattanam was one of the objectives of the excavations, the broader goal was to understand the life of the people who lived or visited site from its first occupation. To locate the site of Muziris, research should not be confined to Pattanam, but extended to the entire delta of the Periyar as well as to the surrounding water bodies of the region.

 

Excavation Methodology

 

The ‘locus methodology’ adopted for this excavation distinguished each layer/feature/pit/structure/activity-area (termed as locus) on the basis of colour (measured by Munsell colour chart), texture and composition. Each locus was excavated as one unit. The top levels (depth) and bottom levels of each locus were measured in relation to the trench datum point. The top plan of each locus was drawn to scale. As excavation proceeded, the Harris matrix depicting relationships between the different loci was prepared.

Extensive photo and video documentation was undertaken at all the relevant stages of the activities. Antiquity registers, data sheets, trench note-books with on the spot observation, expert comments etc were maintained meticulously. Scaled top-plans, elevations and section drawings were made wherever necessary. Important features were documented with special care.

Preference was given to the collection of samples by experts themselves and methodology training was imparted to the students.



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Research Team

 

A team of experts from various disciplines and representing several national level institutions participated in the project.

 

The experts who visited the site and collected samples include Dr. Viswas Gogte and Prof. M.D.Kajale, Dept.of Archaeology, Deccan College, Pune, Dr. Thomas Puthussery from the National Geo Physics Research Institute, Hyderabad, Dr. Sharada Sreenivasan, National Centre for Advanced Studies, Bangalore, Dr. K. Krishnan’s research student Mr.Prabhin Sukumaran, MS University, Baroda, Dr.Y.Subbrayalu from the French Institute, Pondicherry, Dr. K. Rajan, Pondicherry University, Vice Admiral Manohar Awati, Maritime History Society, Mumbai, Dr. Narayana A.C and Dr. P. Seralathan of Cochin University of Science & Technology, Dr. N. Athiyaman, Tamil University, Thanjavur, Dr.Terry Machado and Dr. Narayana Murthy, Centre for Earth Sciences Studies, Thiruvananthapuram and Dr. K.M.Bhatt, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Trissur. Samples are also sent to Dr. Nagabhushanam NGRI and Dr Koushik Dutta, Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar for radio carbon and AMS dating; skeleton samples to Prof Walimbe and Dr. P K Thomas of Deccan College Pune. The pottery experts as far imported ceramic are concerned include Dr. Roberta Tomber, Dr. Anderson and Dr Karashima experts on Roman pottery, West Asian and Chinese sherds respectively.

 

The trench supervisors/assistants and student volunteers belonged to various universities and research institutes inside and outside the state.

 

Trenches

 

The Pattanam site (Coordinates) covers an area of about.5 sq. km. (45 hectares). The northeastern part of the site—which is fairly well-preserved--was chosen for excavations based on the surface explorations undertaken earlier. Within this area, the selection of spots for excavations depended upon the property owners’ willingness. Four trenches (PT07-I, II, III, IV) and one trial trench (PTT07-I) covering an area of ca. 125 sq m were excavated in the northeastern part of the site. In addition, section scraping was done at two localities (PT07-V and PT07-VI).

 

Duration

 

The excavation commenced on February 18th 2007 and was concluded on 8th April 2007.

 

Community Archaeology

 

In order to impart awareness on archaeological research and preservation of heritages select and trained local people were allowed to be part of the research team. During the last week of the excavation, a site exhibition was organized and it was attended by a large number of people from the neighborhood.



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 Chapter 2                                                 CULTURAL SEQUENCE AND CHRONOLOGY

 

Pattanam is a multi-cultural site that was under occupation for several hundreds of years. The cultural deposit which is more than 3 meters in thickness at its maximum can be roughly divided into four cultural periods, on the basis of stratigraphic, artefactual and chronometric analyses. The cultural sequence presented here cannot be considered final and this scheme needs to be revised and refined by further investigations.

As the site is thickly populated and highly disturbed, several early contexts have very late materials mixed with them. Extreme caution has been taken on this aspect and final projection will be done basing on analytical results from various laboratories.

 

Period I

The Iron Age-Early Historic Transition: The earliest cultural period can be termed as Iron Age-Early Historic. This period is represented by the deposit lying above the Aeolian sand. Very limited quantity of coarse pottery is represented in the loci associated with this cultural period. This period is marked by typical Iron Age/megalithic ceramics and very few beads, iron objects and bones. The nature of the deposit suggests that the occupation was not intense at that point of time. Perhaps there was no external trade contact during this period. The frequency of pottery sherds is very less in these layers. This period represents the terminal Iron Age and the beginning of Early Historic, prior to the Roman contact. This period may be extended up to 2nd century B.C.

 

Period II

The Early HistoricThe Early Historic occupation at the site is marked by the presence of imported amphora, fine rouletted ware, Parthian/Sassanian pottery. Brick architecture and the burnt floors have been extensively found at this site. The earliest architecture found in the 2007 is the brick wall in the trench PT 07 III. The architectural remains found in trench III are datable to the 3rd century AD, which perhaps is the peak period of occupation at the site. The Roman trade activities were brisk at this site. This period continued from 1st century BC to 5th century A.D.

 

Period III

Early Medieval: The Early Medieval Period at Pattanam also witnessed human occupation. Some of the architectural remains at the site are of this period. It is represented mainly by the blue glazed early Islamic pottery and the glass beads. The earlier architectural features continued to be used in this period. This period extended from 6th century A.D. to 10th century A.D.

Period IV

Modern: The Late Medieval occupation at the site has been very scanty. There is no evidence for occupation at the site from 11th to 17th Century. The blue-on-white Chinese Ceramics and oral history suggest that this site was re- occupied at least from 18th century onwards



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Chapter 3                                                      TRENCHES*

 

 

3.1. Report of Trench PT07-I

 

3.1.1. Introduction

The Trench PT07-I was laid near the eastern boundary of the plot of Mrs.Valsala (Survey No 222/9A1). This plot, locally known as Padamadam, lies immediately to the west of Mr. Rajagopal’s plot in which trial trenches PTM I and PTM II were excavated in 2004 by the Centre for Heritage Studies. The trench measured 4 m x 4 m, and one metre north of the trench was Trench PT07-II. The purpose of this trench was to know if the architectural remains found in the earlier trial excavations extend in this area, and to understand the cultural sequence. The local datum of the trench was the northwestern peg, which measured 15 cm above the ground level and ca. 2 m above the mean sea level (AMSL). The depth of the loci is discussed in relation to the local datum point of the trench. The trench was excavated up to a depth of 3 mIf a particular locus was similar all across the trench, then it was divided into four quadrants (NW=A, NE=B,SE=C and SW=D) and excavated separately.

 

3.1.2. Description of the Loci

Locus 001=002=004 (10-30cm) was the top-most locus representing humus. This locus was disturbed by modern activates, roots of various trees and rodent holes. It was raised on the western side and sloped towards the northeast and northwest. The soil was clay mixed with sand with colour ranging from 10 YR 5/3 Brown to 10 YR 4/4 dark yellowish brown. One sherd with Brahmi letter and one sherd of Chinese ceramic were found.

 

Locus 003=005 (10-30cm) was a rodent hole that measured 20 cm in depth and 17-19 cm in diameter. It was filled with loose soil deposit with colour ranging from 10 YR 4/4 dark yellowish brown to 10YR 4/3 dark brown.

 

Locus 006 (30-40 cm) was a sediment and debris deposit, more compact than Locus 001. Roots of trees were scattered in the soil, soil was slightly loose. Its colour was 10 YR 4/4 dark yellowish brown. Higher frequency of charcoal fragments and pebbles were found in this locus. An amphora sherd, a piece of Chinese ceramic, pottery of different kinds (thin and thicker) were found.

 

Locus 007 (40-50cm) was a sediment and debris layer. Beads and potteries were found from the locus. Pieces of Chinese and Islamic ceramics and raw materials used for manufacturing beads were recovered. It is a slightly compact layer of clay mixed with sand.

 

Locus 008 (50-60cm) was a sediment and debris layer. Locus 008A (Quadrant A) was slightly disturbed with two rodent holes which measured 10 cm in depth. The soil composition of this hole was same as the soil of this quadrant, clay mixed with sand, 10 YR 3/4 dark yellowish brown. In 008 C, brick pieces (5.5 cm thickness) were found. 008 D yielded pebbles and an iron object resembling knife. Potteries, charcoal and one fragmentary bead were collected from the quadrant.

 

Locus 009 (60-70cm) was a sediment and debris layer. It was slightly compact and its colour was 10YR dark yellowish brown. It yielded Chinese ceramics, beads and brick pieces. A few fragments of pottery were found in situ in the southeastern edge of the trench. There was also a pit (7-8 cm in dia) adjacent to the pottery.

 

Locus 010 (70-90cm) was a sediment and debris layer. The soil was slightly compact and its colour was 10 YR 3/4 dark yellowish brown. Chalcedony raw material flakes, beads in different colour such as black and brown were found. Like locus 009, 010 also yielded some pottery fragments in situ in the southeastern corner of the trench. West Asian/Islamic pottery was found in this locus. Rodent holes (8 cm in depth) were frequently found in the locus. The soil was more wet and mixed with sand. Burnt brick fragments (7 cm in thickness and 20 cm width), similar to the broken pieces from the Trench PT07 II, were recovered. Beads and charcoal fragments were also found.

 

Locus 011 (90-100cm) was a sediment and debris layer. In Quadrant D the soil was slightly hard. Remains of a brick structure, charcoal in large amount and pottery pieces were found. The nature of soil was clay mixed with sand (10 YR 3/4 dark yellowish brown). Rodent holes were found in the locus. The materials recovered include bead, iron piece, Early Islamic ceramics and bead of glass. Traces of brick structure were seen in the southwestern side of the Trench.

 

Locus 012 (100-150cm) was the remains of a bricks and brick fragments. The surrounding soil was compact (10YR4/6 dark yellowish brown). There was a large pottery sherd in the wall. The size of the bricks in the structure measured 36 cm x 19 -20 x 5 cm.

 

Locus 012A (100-120cm) was a charcoal pit enclosed by the locus 012. A rich charcoal deposit was found and it was examined by the paleo-botany experts from Deccan college of Archaeology. About two bags of charcoal and three bags of charcoal-mixed soil were collected. The soil was 10YR3/3 dark brown. A large quantity of charcoal fragments was found. It is not certain if this represents a hearth used for some purpose or accidental burning of waste. A few bone fragments, probably of animal or bird and a piece of glazed ceramics of West Asian origin were found.

 

Locus 013 (100-110cm) was a slightly hard deposit (7.5YR 4/6 strong brown). The materials from the locus include beads, West Asian ceramic, amphora sherd, rouletted ware fragments and a large quantity of local pottery. From 013 C some bricks pieces were found. Micro beads in green colour belonging to the same size range have been collected and they might have belonged to a single necklace. In between 013 C and 012, a brick structure started appearing in the southwestern and southeastern border of the trench. Three pieces of amphora were found from 013 C.

 

Locus 014 (110-130cm) was a sediment and debris layer. It was a compact soil of clay mixed with sand. A structure like feature was revealed in Quadrant B. Pottery, beads and three iron pieces (one measured 12.5 cm in length and 2.5 cm in width) were found. A mud platform was also started appearing here. The soil colour was 7.5YR 3/4 to 4/6 strong brown. Pottery sherds including Rouletted ware, amphora, glazed West Asian ceramic, iron pieces and beads were discovered.

 

Locus 015 (110-130cm) was a sediment and debris layer with slightly compact soil (7.5 YR 3/4 Dark brown). Materials include beads, iron objects, rouletted ware,amphora, westasian and brick fragments. One Brahmi letter (ka) was found. Charcoal fragments were found in the area adjacent to the Locus 012 wall.

 

Locus 016 (110-130cm) was a compact mud platform. Brick debris was found in the centre and the southern parts of this locus, adjacent to the 012 brick wall. The soil was clay mixed with sand and colour was 7.5 YR 3/4 Dark Brown. The materials include pottery sherds, Beads, Iron pieces, copper and glass pieces.

 

Locus 017 (130-155cm) was a compact sedimentary deposit of clay mixed with sand, and river-worn pebbles. It’s colour was 10YR 5/6 yellowish brown to 7.5 YR 3/4 Dark brown. A number of iron slag and nails, quartz pieces, copper fragments (corroded) and nine broken pieces of amphora, one graffiti, triple grooved tile fragments, a broken piece of chalcedony, rouletted ware fragments were collected. From this locus more early historic materials were found.

 

Locus 018 (155-165cm) was a sediment and debris layer of clay mixed sand. It was slightly compact (7.5yr 3/4 Dark brown) and yielded amphora, Sassanian ceramic sherd, corroded copper lumps, an amphora handle, iron nails, beads in golden colour, burnt beads, iron knife, rouletted ware, glass pieces, chalcedony raw material and charcoal fragments. In Quadrant B brick debris with compact mud were found.

 

Locus 019 (90-135cm) was a mud platform, with brick debris and pottery. The platform appeared in the locus 014B, (98 cm below the datum point). It is located in the northeastern side of the trench. It is slightly compact (7.5YR 3/4 dark brown at 140 cm and 10YR 3/4 Dark yellowish brown from 140 to 150 cm). A number of pottery sherds and rims were scattered below the platform, as foundation.

 

Locus 020 (135-165cm) was a sediment and debris layer of clay mixed with sand and charcoal. Corroded copper remains were found.

 

Locus 021 (165-175cm) was a sediment and debris layer of clay mixed with sand. It had brick debris (10YR 3/4 Dark Yellowish brown). Beads, lime plaster, amphora sherd fragments, Sassanian/Islamic sherds, rouletted ware pieces, chalcedony raw materials, and iron nails were recovered. Some hard laterite pieces were also noticed. A stone platform with burnt mud structure appeared in the south west quadrant of the locus. Iron nails ware found near this platform. A charcoal deposit was found in the northwestern side of the trench and it was excavated as a separate locus.

 

Locus 022 (165-175cm) was a charcoal pit and it was located in the northwestern side of the trench. Soil was a mixture of sand and charcoal (10YR3/2 very dark grayish brown to 7.5YR 5/6) and it could be an oven or hearth.

 

Locus 023 (175-195 cm) was a sandy locus and slightly hard in texture (10YR 3/4 Dark yellowish brown) mixed with charcoal. It yielded pottery sherds, an iron tool (17 cm length and 5cm width) and charred clay fragments. Rouletted ware sherds, corroded copper fragments, amphora sherds, two sherds of glazed West Asian ceramic, iron nails, glass beads, an iron crucible fragment, and West Asian pottery pieces were found.

 

Locus 024 (195-220 cm) was a loose, sandy soil (colour 10YR 5/6 yellowish brown). It yielded pottery, corroded copper fragments, Rouletted ware, Sassanian pottery sherds, beads and charcoal fragments. It was in the southeastern quadrant of the trench. A black-and-red ware sherd was found in quadrant C.

 

Locus 025 (180-220cm) was a mud platform that started from the southern border of the trench and extended towards north for 2m. The soil was compact with charcoal fragments on the top of the platform (10YR 4/4 dark yellowish brown). Beads, charred clay, iron nails, charcoal and rouletted ware sherds.

 

Locus 026 (220-235cm) was a loose, sandy deposit (10YR 5/6 yellowish brown). It had occasional pottery shreds, glazed West Asian ceramic, and chalcedony raw material fragments. The frequency of pottery decreased and most of them belonged to the coarse red ware. The artifacts include beads, Parthian/Sassanian ware and iron objects.

 

Locus 027 (235-300cm) was a sandy soil (10YR6/6 brownish yellow). In the northwest it was mixed with very small charcoal pieces and small quartz flakes. It yielded mainly early local potteries in red colour, a few rouletted ware pieces and charcoal fragments. A thick iron ring was the most interesting artifact, from this locus. At the depth of 240-245 a huge quantity of human/animal bones were collected from the Quadrant C. At this level the cultural deposit substantially decreased and a very less quantity of pottery shreds. More bone pieces collected from the same locus (027-B-250-260, - 10yr 5/6 Yellowish brown). At a depth of 260-285 cm in the locus 027– B ferruginous sand formation, deep brownish colour (Munsell 5YR5/8 yellowish brown) was observed.

The sand deposit here was a mixture of ash, light and dark brown. Only one micro bead in brown colour was found. In the southeast quadrant of the trench bone fragments in large quantity was recovered at a depth of 235 cm, from the datum point. It is not certain if they were human or animal bone.

 

Locus 028 (260-290cm) was also a sandy deposit, but high frequency of charcoal and pottery was mixed found in this locus. At a depth of 262 cm 027A became a charcoal pit (028) in the Southern part of the quadrant. The pit's depth was 26 cm and the materials include pottery sherds charcoal. The soil was in dark colour (7.5YR N2/ black). This charcoal patch was found within the quadrant A of the locus 027. The pottery sherds, from the pit belonged to the Early Historic, but the 027A belonged to the Iron Age. The pit 028 extended up to the sterile layer (315 cm). Materials found include pottery, charcoal, bead and shells.

 

Locus 029 (220-275cm) was also a charcoal pit or charcoal patch was found at a depth of 220 cm in the southeast quadrant of the trench. It was a loose sand mixed with charcoal fragments (10YR3/2 very dark grayish brown). It was surrounded by the locus 027.C. The soil was highly charred. High concentration of charcoal was found. The lumps of bricks and impressed pieces of pottery were found. One piece of charred bone was found. A black-and-red ware sherd and one bead in blue colour were collected. At a depth of 260-275 cm more black and red ware sherds were found. Charcoal, bone pieces, Rouletted ware were also encountered.

 

Locus 030 (260-285cm) was a pottery dump in the northeast quadrant, close to the eastern baulk and extended 70.cm towards South. At a depth 220-240 cm onwards clay mixed sand deposit observed and it became very prominent and distinct at depth of 260-285cm. Two complete bowls recovered and they were associated with a large number of broken pottery sherds. Some burnt pebbles and a piece of bone were collected from the locus. It could be considered earlier than that of 027.B (260-285). Its colour was 10YR 3/4 Dark yellowish brown.

 

Locus 031 (285-315 cm) was a pure natural deposit (10 YR 6/8 brownish yellow). No cultural materials were found in the locus. At 300 cm, the excavation was stopped. A small area measuring 50 cm x 50 cm was excavated in the northwestern quadrant of the trench and water level was reached at a depth of 344 cm from the datum point.

 

Interpretation

 

PT07-I mainly exposed sediment debris layers and pits. No significant architectural evidence was found in this trench. It yielded habitational deposit measuring about 2.85 m in thickness, with the ground water level at a depth of 3.42 m below the datum point. The earliest layers in the trench were devoid of any artifact and perhaps represent the beach sand. Above this sand deposit was another sand deposit, which is Aeolian in origin according to the geological experts. The earliest occupational evidence is found in this Aeolian sand deposit (027). This sand deposit (027) yielded fragments of bones (human?) in large numbers in the northwestern and southeastern quadrants of the trench. This sand deposit had patches of reddish brown sand (027). In some places the brownish soil was found in highly concretized form. This sand deposit perhaps witnessed the occupation of the indigenous ‘megalithic’ people. Above this sand deposit is a fine layer of soil deposit mixed with ash and charcoal (028, 029). The frequency of pottery was very less. The Aeolian sand was disturbed by the activities of the Early Historic people. Three pits (028, 029, 030) with high concentration of pottery were found in this trench. The pit in the northeastern corner (030) had a higher concentration of pottery some of which are nearly total /complete. The other important features in this trench are burnt floor remains found in the southeastern corner of the trench (025). Remains of possible structure (012) and a pit with high concentration of charcoal (012a). The important antiquities from the trench are beads (carnelian, chalcedony, glass and amethyst) wasters of beads, corroded copper, iron nails, iron ring, iron knife (018) bones (027,029,030). The trench yielded amphora (loci 013, 017, 018, 023), rouletted ware (Loci 009, 012, 013, 014, 015, 017, 018, 021, 024, 025, 026, 027, 029) andParthian/Sassanian/Islamic pottery (Loci 007, 010, 011, 018, 021, 024). The trench yielded Black and Red Ware (024, 029) and a Brahmi letter (ka) that was inscribed on a rim of big jar. The trench mainly witnessed habitational activities throughout its occupation. No specific evidence was found in the trench to suggest the undertaking of any particular activity in its history of occupation. The fragmentary bricks, floor remains and other debris indicate that the area was robbed for brick and was disturbed due to various activities of the later occupants of the site.

 

 

3.2. Report of the Trench PT 07-IV

 

3.2.1. Introduction

The Trench PT 07-IV was laid out near the northeastern boundary of the site where the top soil had been removed. The trench datum point was fixed at 15 cm above the surface level on the northeastern side of PT07 III. The depth and measurements of all the loci are discussed in relation to trench datum point. PT 07 IV was originally laid over an area of 3 m x 2 m and it was extended six times which were named Extn. I, II, III, IV, V &VI covering a total area of 29.5 sq m.

The main objective of the Trench PT 07-IV was to know the extension of the brick structure found in Trench III and to get an idea of the boundary of the settlement. Contrary to the expectation PT07 IV yielded the remains which initially gave the impression of an embankment. The extensions were done to get a complete idea about the structure.

 

Extension I – An extension of 1 m x 1m was taken on the southern side of PT07 IV main trench to know the extent of the laterite structure and its character. Further to get an idea on the relation of the structures with the brick structure in the adjacent trench PT07 III.

 

Extension II- An extension of 5m x1m was done on the southwest side of the extension I, since the first extension did not reveal a clear picture of the laterite structure. In order to get a more clear picture of the structure including its orientation and purpose Extn II was laid out.

 

Extension III & IV – Extn III (200 x 15 cm) was done on the eastern side and extension IV (4.50 x 1.50) on the northern side of PT07 IV main trench area to get an idea of Locus 015 (PT07 IV) – the waterlogged area. Secondly, to know the stratigraphy of the area in relation to the laterite structure and finally to know the extent and purpose of the structure.

 

Extension V & VI – Extn V (135 x 55 cm) was laid out on the north Westside of Extn IV and Extn VI (1.70 x 1mt) on the eastern side of Extn III to trace the extent of the canoe.

 

Extension VI B – (2.10 x 1.70) . An extension of 40 cm from the eastern side of extension VI to trace the extent of canoe on that end.

 

 



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3.2.2.Description of the Loci

 

In PT07 IV, 16 loci were identified. They are described below.

 

Locus 001 (0-11 cm): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 5/8 yellowish brown loose soil mixed with granules and lumps. The finds of this locus included potsherds of 1 to 4 cm, brickbats and an iron nail. (001=001 EXTN I)

 

Locus 002 (11-35 cm): This locus covered the entire trench except the southeast portion which measured 125 x 85 cm. It was composed of 10 YR 5/4 yellowish brown loose soil with granules and lumps. The main finds include shell, brickbats, pottery, iron nail (25-30 cm). Locus 002 had two pits which were rodent holes assigned as 002 a & 002 b. (002=002 EXTN I)

 

Locus 003 (33-36 cm): This locus covered the southeast portion of the trench (1.25 x 5 cm) and was a compact area made of mud plaster or clay. No cultural artifacts were attested in this locus and it was composed of 10 YR 6/6 brownish yellow.

 

Locus 004 (35 -50 cm). This locus was composed of 10 YR 5/6 yellowish brown very hard soil with laterite chunk. It covered the entire trench and was disturbed with rodent holes (004a, 004b, 004c,). The quantity of brickbats was more, while potsherds were very few in number. Cultural artifacts included pottery (two sherds of glazed ware-medieval pottery, red ware); an iron nail and a blue glass bead with zigzag band in white (004=004 Extn I).

 

Locus 005 (60 - 70 cm): It covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 3/4 dark yellowish brown hard soil mixed with clay lumps, granules and laterite chunk. Lime was also present in the soil, perhaps due to the disintegration of shells. The cultural artifacts included brickbats, pottery, shell, glass beads (4 Nos), and a bone of animal (005 = 005 EXTN I).

 

Locus 006 (70 – 100 cm): This locus was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 brown hard soil. Clay lumps, granules and laterite chunk and shells were also found. The locus covered the eastern half of the trench (180 cm x 180 m). The artifacts consisted of brickbats, pottery (very few) shell, iron nail and glass beads (3 nos) (006=005 EXTN II).

 

Locus 007 was the laterite structure which was a wharf. It was compact and made of granules of laterite and occasional brick fragments.

 

Locus 008 (1- 1.20 m): This locus covered roughly the eastern part of the trench ie: 2.54 x 1.50 m and was composed of 7.5 YR 3/4 dark brown. The artifacts included pottery (few in quantity), brickbats and shell. Iron nail (2 nos) and a copper object from a depth of 1.10 to 1.20 m.

 

Locus 009 (1.20 – 1.40 m): This locus covered roughly the northeastern portion of the trench and was composed of hard 7.5 YR 4/4 brown soil. The cultural materials consisted of pottery, brick bats and shells. The quantity of brickbats increased, while the quantity of pottery was few.

 

Locus 010 (1.40–1.50 m): This locus covered roughly the northeastern portion of the trench and was composed of 10 YR 3/4 dark yellowish brown soil which was moist and loose. The cultural materials found were shell, burnt clay, brickbats and pottery.

 

Locus 011 (1.50- 1.60): This locus covered the northeastern portion of the trench and was composed of 7.5 YR 3/4 dark brown loose and moist soil. Cultural remains consisted of shell, brickbats and pottery.

 

Locus 012 (1.50 – 1.80 m): This locus covered only the northeastern corner of the trench and was composed of 7.5 YR 3/4 dark brown loose and moist soil. The cultural materials included shell, brickbats and pottery. The brickbats (ca. 8 cm width) and potsherds found were in waterlogged context.

 

Locus 013 (1.80 -1.95 m): This locus covered only the north east corner of the trench and was composed of 5 YR 3/3 dark reddish brown loose soil. Along with the dark reddish brown soil, grey sand and clayey silt were also found. The presence of clay made the soil sticky. The cultural materials found include pottery, brickbats and iron nail.

 

Locus 014 (1.95 -2.15 m): This locus covered only the northeastern corner of the trench and was composed of 2.5 YR N/6 grey sandy soil with clayey silt. The cultural material was confined to pottery in large quantities. This locus was a waterlogged area.

 

Locus 015 (2.15- 2.40): This locus covered only the northeastern corner of the trench and was composed of N 5/1 grey 7.5 YR – sandy soil with yellow patches. This locus had a high concentration of pottery in waterlogged condition. Rouletted ware, 2 West Asian sherds, tile fragments were found among other pottery. Three wooden pegs/bollards were found in locus 015. Water-table was reached at a depth of 2.40 m (015=009,010 Extn III, IV, V, VI)

 

Locus 016 (2.40 to 2.50m): This locus covered the northeastern corner of the trench and was composed of 2.5 YR N 3/1 very dark grey soil. The cultural artifacts consisted of high concentration of pottery

 

016 = 011 of EXTN III, IV, V & VI.

 

EXTN I

 

Locus 001 (0-15cm): It covered the entire trench (1 m x 1 m) and was composed of 10 YR 5/8 yellowish brown loose soil with lumps and granules. The important content of this locus was brick bats (001 = 001 PT 07 IV).

 

Locus 002 (15- 35 cm): It covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 5/4 yellowish brown loose soil with lumps and granules of laterite. The important ingredients of the locus were pottery, brickbats, iron nails (4), broken glass bead. The ceramics included modern, Indo-Sassanian (2 sherds), Mesopotamian and Red ware (002 = 002 PT07 IV).

 

Locus 004 (35 -60 cm): This locus was composed of 10 YR 5/6 yellowish brown soil. The soil was loose in some parts while in other parts it was hard due to the mixing of laterite chunks which are rich in iron content. This locus covered the entire trench and consisted of pottery, brickbats, shell, iron nails (3 nos) and a roof tile fragment. (004 = 004 PT 07 IV)

 

Locus 005 (60 – 65 cm)

It covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 3/4 dark yellowish brown hard soil mixed with clay lumps, granules and laterite chunks. The cultural remains consisted of pot sherds and brickbats. (005 = 005 PT07 IV).

 

Locus 007 (after a depth of 65 cm). The laterite structure of PT 07 IV.

 

EXTN II

 

Locus 001 (0- 10 cm): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 6/3 pale brown loose soil. The cultural remains consisted of only pottery which included a sherd of West Asian pottery.

 

Locus 002 (10- 30 cm): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 5/6 yellowish brown loose soil. Cultural materials consisted of glass bead, iron nail (20-30cm), quartz flake, copper object, rouletted ware (20-30 cm), Roman pottery and other local ceramics. (002=004 EXTN I = 004 PT 07 IV).

 

A pit (002 a) was found in this locus. This plantation pit was found to a depth of 80 cm, from 10 to 80 cm.

 

Locus 003 (Brick wall). It was the brick wall which had been destroyed in later period.

 

Locus 004: It covered the entire trench except locus 003 & 002a and was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 dark brown soil. This locus consisted of pottery and brickbats (30-40 cm)

 

Locus 005 (40-50 cm): It was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 brown soil which was hard and covered the southern half of the trench (quadrant B). The cultural remains included pottery, brickbats, iron nails and raw materials.

 

Locus 006 (40 – 55 cm): It was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 dark brown soil hard and mixed with brickbats. It covered the northern half of the trench (QA). A neck portion of amphora was the most important find from this locus.

 

Locus 007 (50- 80 cm): It covered the southern half of the trench and was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 brown soil which was loose in some parts and hard in other. It was found mixed with brick bats. Cultural materials of this locus included pottery, brickbats and iron nail.

 

Locus 008 (80 cm– 1m): It covered the southern part of the trench and was composed of 10 YR 6/6 brownish soil which was loose in nature. The cultural materials found included pottery, brickbats and a Roman glass piece. The pottery included one sherd of West Asian ware and red wares.

 

Locus 009 (1-1.09 m): It covered the southern part of this trench (1.50 x 1 m) and was composed of 10 YR 6/6 brownish yellow soil with high sand content. The cultural materials consisted of pottery, iron nail and a raw material fragment of carnelian.

 

Locus 011 (1.10 – 1.30 m): This locus was composed of 10 YR 7/8 yellow soil which was sandy in nature and covered the southern portion of the trench especially the southeastern corner. Cultural materials were very few compared to previous locus, and consisted of pottery in very less number and an iron nail.

 

Locus 012 (1.30 -1.55 m): This locus covered the southern portion of the trench and was composed of 10 YR 7/8 yellow sandy soil. It was a sterile layer.

 

EXTN III & IV

 

Locus 001 (0-15 cm): This disturbed humus locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 7.5 YR 6/4 light brown loose soil. The cultural material was confined to pottery.

 

Locus 002 (15- 45 cm): This locus covered the entire trench. This disturbed locus was composed of 10 YR 5/6 yellowish brown loose soil. The only cultural material found from this locus was pottery.

 

Locus 003 (45–60 cm): This disturbed locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 brown. The cultural materials from Extn III include pottery, copper object and stone. Those from Extn IV include pottery, brickbats, iron nail, stone, one sherd of rouletted ware.

 

Locus 004 (60-70 cm): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 4/4 dark yellowish brown loose soil. The main finds of Extn III included brickbats, shells, pottery and that of Extn IV included brickbats, shells, pottery. This locus which was a debris had a lot of brick bats.

 

Locus 005 (70 -95 cm): This locus of debris covered the entire trench. It was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 brown soil which was hard in character. The main components included brickbats and pottery.

 

Locus 006 (95-165 cm): This locus covered the entire trench except locus 004a = 007 – laterite structure. It is a debris layer and composed of 7.5 YR 3/4dark brown loose soil. The cultural materials from Extn III included brickbats, pottery [one sherd of Sassanian ware (1 m), one sherd of Chinese pottery (1.45 to 1.65 m)], stone and iron slag (1.45 to 1.65 m). The cultural materials from Extn IV included brickbats, pottery, shell, beads of glass (2 Nos). A modern bead found from this locus confirmed that it was a disturbed layer.

 

Locus 007 (1.65 – 2.00 m): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 5 YR 4/4 reddish brown with grayish loose soil. Debris of structure (007a = 004b) was found in the form of fallen bricks. The cultural materials found include brickbats, pottery and shell. Two iron nails were obtained from Extn III (1.65 to 2 m).

 

Locus 008 (2 – 2.15 m): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 5 YR 4/3 reddish brown soil with more grayish tinge. The grey soil has a mix of laterite, clay and iron content. This locus is also part of debris. The cultural materials found include pottery, brickbats, shell etc.. Burned bricks and charred pottery were also found from Extn IV.

 

Locus 009 (2.15 – 2.40 m): This locus covered the area close to the structure and was composed of 7.5 YR N 5/1 grey soil. The cultural materials include pottery in large quantities of various types like rouletted ware, Sassanian ware, an amphora handle and red ware, two stone samples, coconut shell etc. This locus is a waterlogged area (009= 015 PT07 IV).

 

Locus 010 (2.15 -2.40 m): This locus was approximately a triangular area on the northeastern portion of the trench. It was composed of 7.5 YR N 5/1 grey soil which was a mix of sand, silt and clay. The important contents include pottery (rouletted ware), bead, chalcedony raw material, stone (2 Nos), part of a tooth?, coconut shells and wooden logs. The materials found from this waterlogged locus were in a good state of preservation. (010 – 015 PT 07 IV)

 

Locus 011 (2.40 – 2.55 m): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 2.5 YR N 3/1 very dark grey soil which was a mix of sand, silt and clay. The important content of this locus was pottery in large quantities including an amphora sherd with incrustation. It is also a waterlogged area. At 2.40 m depth the ‘wooden log’ was found on the eastern side of the trench touching the eastern bank.(011=016 PT07 IV).

 

Extn V & VI

 

Locus 001 (0-15 cm): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 7.5 YR 6/4 light brown loose soil. This locus was disturbed by coconut plantation. The cultural material found include pottery.

 

Locus 002 (15-45 cm): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 10 YR 5/6 yellowish brown loose soil. The cultural material found from this disturbed locus was confined to pottery.

 

Locus 003 (45 – 60 cm): This locus was composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 dark brown soil and covered the entire trench. The cultural material found from this disturbed locus was confined to pottery.

 

Locus 004 (60- 70 cm): This locus was a debris layer composed of 10 YR 4/4 dark yellowish brown soil and covered the entire trench. The cultural material found was mainly pottery.

 

Locus 005 (70 – 95 cm): This locus was a debris layer composed of 7.5 YR 4/4 brown compact soil and covered the entire trench. Pottery and brickbats were the cultural materials found. The varieties of pottery found include a non-local variety (EXTN VI – 75 cm) and a possible West Asian (EXTN VI-75 cm)

 

Locus 006 (95 – 1.65 cm): This debris locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 7.5 YR 3/4 dark brown soil. The cultural materials found include pottery and a glass bead from Extn VI. The cultural material was confined to pottery in Extn V.

 

Locus 007 (1.65 – 2 m): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 5 YR 4/4 reddish brown soil with grayish tinge. The cultural materials found include pottery, brickbats and shell.

 

Locus 008 (2.00 -2.15 m): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 5 YR 4/3 reddish brown with grayish tinge soil and the grayish tinge on the increase. Pottery and brickbats were the cultural materials found.

 

Locus 009 & 010 (2.15 – 2.40 m): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 7.5 YRN 5/1 grey soil with a high content of sand. Silt and clay were also present. The main constituent of this locus is pottery. Extn VI B has yielded wood, shell, stone (4 Nos) and a glass bead of golden colour, apart from pottery.

 

Locus 011 (2.40 – 2.55 m): This locus covered the entire trench and was composed of 2.5 YR N 3/1 very dark grey soil. This locus has yielded pottery in large quantities. After a depth of 2.40 m the extension of canoe and bollards G, H, I, F were found. The cultural materials found include pottery (Extn VI – 2 non local variety sherds, amphorae neck with encrustation), Rouletted ware, tile fragment, wood pieces (4) and coconut shell; Ext VI B – chalcedony flake and EXT V stone and pottery.

 

The excavation in Trench IV including EXTN III, IV, V, VI revealed an occupational deposit of about 2.55 m without reaching the natural soil, while in Ext II a cultural deposit of 155 m was recovered and natural soil was reached at a depth of 1.30 m. Except in Ext II, where the water table was reached at a depth of 2.40 m.

 

Another interesting feature is that while PT07 main trench (3x2 m) and Extn I had similar stratigraphy while Extn III, IV, V, & VI had altogether different deposit. These Loci (011) in Extns are composed primarily of debris – one time fill up in its upper levels. The lower levels from 2.15 m composed of grey, humus sandy soil indicate the existence of a water body.

Locus 012 (2.60 – 2.93 m): This locus was composed of 10 YR 3/1 very dark grey sand mixed clay, soil and covered the area 1m x 1m on northeastern portion of the trench. The contents of this locus included pebbles, stones, coconut shell, wood fragments, pottery etc. The pottery found was in high concentration which included Rouletted ware and amphorae. A carnelian nodule was also obtained from 2.70 m. Extn II with 012 locus has its stratigraphy similar to that in Trench III.

 

Locus 013 (2.93-3.11): This locus covered the area 1m x1m in the northeastern portion of the trench. It was composed of 10 YR 7/8 yellow sand which is highly micaceous. The top level of this locus, say up to 3 m, yielded pottery in very less quantity (about 15 sherds). The lower levels were sterile. Natural soil was reached after a depth of 3 m.

 

Locus 014 (2.55 – 2.65 m): This locus was composed of 10 YR 5/1 grey soil, which was sandy in nature and devoid of clay content. It covered the 40 x 40 cm area on the southern side of boat. The cultural material found from this locus was pottery in high concentration. The digging below the canoe also revealed this locus.

 

Locus 014 a (2.65 m – 2.75 m): It covered the area 40 cm x 40 cm on the southern side of the boat and was composed of 10 YR 5/1 grey soil which is sandy in nature. The cultural material found consisted of pottery in high concentration, which includes a sherd of glazed ware. In 014a, the clayey deposit which was found in 012 was absent. The potsherds were found in high concentration mixed with grey soil and is considered to be a packing/foundation prior to the wharf and the canoe. The digging below the canoe also revealed this feature.

Locus 015 (2.75- 2.80): This locus covered the 40 cm x 40 cm area on the southern side of the boat and was composed of 10 YR 7/8 yellow sand. This locus didn’t yield any artefacts and was sterile. 014=015

 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  


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3.2.3. Structural Remains

 

Trench IV had revealed some important structural remains, which includes traces of a brick wall, a floor and a wharf.

 

Wall (003): In PT 07 IV Ext II a wall made of reused bricks was found approximately on the northern half of the trench (Quadrant A). The wall was found entering from the western side baulk and touching the same baulk. Its relation to the structure in Trench III was not clear. The extension of this three rowed, two coursed structure was damaged by 002 a pit.

 

Total length of the wall – 1 m.

Total breadth – 60 (min); 1.10m (max)

Thickness/ ht - 20 cm

Brick size width 10 cm / 7-8 cm

 

Floor (?) (003 a): A structural evidence found in PT 07 IV Ext II was a compact floor of mud (clay), brickbats of very small size and potsherds. This might have served as the floor to the wall (003) or perhaps a second floor level which did not have any connection with the wall. any definite conclusion could not be reached since no connection between the structures was found in Trench III and PT07 IV Ext II. A part of this floor? was also destroyed by a pit (002 a).

 

Total length – 4.15 m ; Total breadth - 1 m ; Total thickness / ht – 10 cm

 

Wharf

 

The most interesting and important structure produced by PT07 IV is the wharf made of a mix of laterite chunks and clay. Occasionally, in the lower levels potsherds and brickbats of very small size were also used. A nine course brick lining was at the fringe of the laterite packing. It also has a foundation of 30 cm in thickness, which was made of brickbats, potsherds, pebbles and grey sandy soil mixed with clay. The structure was found running diagonally touching the eastern, western and southern baulks.

 

The 003 a floor found in Ext II might have served as a pavement to 007 structure. (seen in section facing east – west side of Ext II)

 

Laterite wall – Locus 007 = 007 a PT07 IV Ext II=

Locus 004a PT 07 IV Ext III & IV

 

Brick Lining – Locus 007 a = 004 b PT07 IV Ext III & IV

 

Laterite wall – Munsell 10 YR 8/4 very pale brown

 

Max ht of laterite wall – 20 cm

 

The thickness/ht of the structure decreased as it reached the southern point (ie: in Ext II)

Width of laterite wharf- 7.30 m

 

Height of laterite wharf near the test pit – 66 cm (excluding the upper layers)

1.06 m (total)

 

Depth from datum point (top level)

 

PT 07 IV main trench – 66-99 cm

PT07 IV Ext I – 65 cm

PTO7 IV Ext III & IV – 89 cm

 

Depth from datum point (bottom level)

PT07 IV main trench – 1.50- 1.60

PT07 IV Ext II

PT 07 IV Ext III & IV – 1.40 to 1.50 m

 

Brick lining Munsell – 2.5 YR 5/8 Red

 

Max ht of brick lining: 95 cm (max) 60 cm (min)

Max thickness / width of brick lining – 45 cm

Min thickness / width of brick lining – 35 cm

Length of the brick lining (diagonal) – 5.50 m

No. of courses -9

English bond; Mud mortar

Depth from Datum point (bottom level)

PT07 IV – 2.10 -2.20 (2m to 2.20)

PT 07 IV Ext III 2.20 -2.45

PT 07 IV Ext IV – 2.40

Brick size – 22 x 13 x 7 cm

20 x 15 x 8 cm

21 x ? x 7 cm

21 x ? 8 cm

23 x ? x 8 cm

 

Foundation

 

Total height: 30 cm

Found at a depth of 2.25 m (top level)

2.55 m (bottom level)

 

In the northeastern corner of the main trench deep digging was done directly below the bricklining (where the bottom level of brick lining was 2.20 m below the datum point). Below this point 30 cm of clay mixed with sand and pottery was found. Another 15 cm of sand deposit was found with less pottery (ie: 2.20 to 2.50 m of dense concentration of pot sherds and 2.50 -2.65 m-less concentration of pot sherds). It was not sure if this particular layer was deposited intentionally for the foundation for the brick lining or created by day to day activities in this area. Pottery found (include Rouletted ware) – predating the construction of wharf and the boat.

 

3.2.4 The Canoe

A ca. 6m long canoe was found in the trench adjacent to the wharf.

 

Dimensions of the Canoe

Length of canoe – 5.97

Breadth/Width of canoe (29.5 – 7 cm)

At manikkaal – 29.5 cm

1 m – 72 cm

2 m – 41 cm

3 m – 52 cm

5 m- 60 cm

2 nd - 7 cm

 

At 4.40 m onwards it was highly damaged and here the width was only 20 cm.

 

7 holes which might have been used for fixing the thwarts were also found. The holes were found parallel to each other.

 

The distance between thwart or manikkaal and H1 ie: in south side – 59 cm

The distance between manikkaal and H2 ie: in north side – 60 cm

 

Distance / width between the holes H1 and H2 – 36.5 cm

 

Another hole was found after a distance of 80 cm from the first pair of holes H1 & H2

 

Diameter of Hole 3 – east west 9 cm

(round) - north south 8 cm (max)

- north south 6 cm (min)

 

A rectangular piece (l x b) – was found near hole 3. It was a piece used for repairing the canoe found at a depth of2.40 – 2.50 m.

 

Thwarts or manikkaal

Length of manikkaal - 18 cm (top) ; 31 cm (bottom)

Width of manikkaal - top width (n) = 17 ; top width (s) = 16

Height of manikkaal - inside en = 7 cm ; inside es = 6 cm

Outside wn = 6 cm ; outside ws – 5 cm

A piece of wood and laterite chunks and potsherds were found sticking to the canoe. It was seen at 3.65 m from western part of canoe.

 

Length of wood piece – 32 cm ; Breadth of wood piece – 2 cm

 

It is evident that the boat had been repaired and made water proof. In some parts it has got two layers of wood and in between these layers evidence of caulking can be seen. No nails were used. A particular material (made of organic material?) was used for caulking. The bottom layer measures approximately 2.60 by 25 (l x b)

 

Canoe

Length – 28.5 cm ; Breadth – max 11 cm, min 10cm ; thickness 4 cm (max) 3 cm (min)

 

Hole 4 – seen near the rectangular piece of wood; almost square in shape

Dia- ew- 7 cm

 

Hole 5 – used for fixing thwart

Diameter – 4.5 x 4.5 cm (oval in shape); distance from hole 4 to 5 – 90 cm

 

Hole 6- may be used for fixing thwart.

Diameter – 4 x 4 cm (square in shape); distance from hole 5 to 6 – 96.cm

 

Hole 7 – was found parallel to hole 6. May be used for fixing thwart

Diameter – (square in shape)

Exact measurement not known since half of the portion was found damaged.

 

Thickness of Canoe – 2 cm

 

 



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3.2.3. Structural Remains

 

Trench IV had revealed some important structural remains, which includes traces of a brick wall, a floor and a wharf.

 

Wall (003): In PT 07 IV Ext II a wall made of reused bricks was found approximately on the northern half of the trench (Quadrant A). The wall was found entering from the western side baulk and touching the same baulk. Its relation to the structure in Trench III was not clear. The extension of this three rowed, two coursed structure was damaged by 002 a pit.

 

Total length of the wall – 1 m.

Total breadth – 60 (min); 1.10m (max)

Thickness/ ht - 20 cm

Brick size width 10 cm / 7-8 cm

 

Floor (?) (003 a): A structural evidence found in PT 07 IV Ext II was a compact floor of mud (clay), brickbats of very small size and potsherds. This might have served as the floor to the wall (003) or perhaps a second floor level which did not have any connection with the wall. any definite conclusion could not be reached since no connection between the structures was found in Trench III and PT07 IV Ext II. A part of this floor? was also destroyed by a pit (002 a).

 

Total length – 4.15 m ; Total breadth - 1 m ; Total thickness / ht – 10 cm

 

Wharf

 

The most interesting and important structure produced by PT07 IV is the wharf made of a mix of laterite chunks and clay. Occasionally, in the lower levels potsherds and brickbats of very small size were also used. A nine course brick lining was at the fringe of the laterite packing. It also has a foundation of 30 cm in thickness, which was made of brickbats, potsherds, pebbles and grey sandy soil mixed with clay. The structure was found running diagonally touching the eastern, western and southern baulks.

 

The 003 a floor found in Ext II might have served as a pavement to 007 structure. (seen in section facing east – west side of Ext II)

 

Laterite wall – Locus 007 = 007 a PT07 IV Ext II=

Locus 004a PT 07 IV Ext III & IV

 

Brick Lining – Locus 007 a = 004 b PT07 IV Ext III & IV

 

Laterite wall – Munsell 10 YR 8/4 very pale brown

 

Max ht of laterite wall – 20 cm

 

The thickness/ht of the structure decreased as it reached the southern point (ie: in Ext II)

Width of laterite wharf- 7.30 m

 

Height of laterite wharf near the test pit – 66 cm (excluding the upper layers)

1.06 m (total)

 

Depth from datum point (top level)

 

PT 07 IV main trench – 66-99 cm

PT07 IV Ext I – 65 cm

PTO7 IV Ext III & IV – 89 cm

 

Depth from datum point (bottom level)

PT07 IV main trench – 1.50- 1.60

PT07 IV Ext II

PT 07 IV Ext III & IV – 1.40 to 1.50 m

 

Brick lining Munsell – 2.5 YR 5/8 Red

 

Max ht of brick lining: 95 cm (max) 60 cm (min)

Max thickness / width of brick lining – 45 cm

Min thickness / width of brick lining – 35 cm

Length of the brick lining (diagonal) – 5.50 m

No. of courses -9

English bond; Mud mortar

Depth from Datum point (bottom level)

PT07 IV – 2.10 -2.20 (2m to 2.20)

PT 07 IV Ext III 2.20 -2.45

PT 07 IV Ext IV – 2.40

Brick size – 22 x 13 x 7 cm

20 x 15 x 8 cm

21 x ? x 7 cm

21 x ? 8 cm

23 x ? x 8 cm

 

Foundation

 

Total height: 30 cm

Found at a depth of 2.25 m (top level)

2.55 m (bottom level)

 

In the northeastern corner of the main trench deep digging was done directly below the bricklining (where the bottom level of brick lining was 2.20 m below the datum point). Below this point 30 cm of clay mixed with sand and pottery was found. Another 15 cm of sand deposit was found with less pottery (ie: 2.20 to 2.50 m of dense concentration of pot sherds and 2.50 -2.65 m-less concentration of pot sherds). It was not sure if this particular layer was deposited intentionally for the foundation for the brick lining or created by day to day activities in this area. Pottery found (include Rouletted ware) – predating the construction of wharf and the boat.

 

3.2.4 The Canoe

A ca. 6m long canoe was found in the trench adjacent to the wharf.

 

Dimensions of the Canoe

Length of canoe – 5.97

Breadth/Width of canoe (29.5 – 7 cm)

At manikkaal – 29.5 cm

1 m – 72 cm

2 m – 41 cm

3 m – 52 cm

5 m- 60 cm

2 nd - 7 cm

 

At 4.40 m onwards it was highly damaged and here the width was only 20 cm.

 

7 holes which might have been used for fixing the thwarts were also found. The holes were found parallel to each other.

 

The distance between thwart or manikkaal and H1 ie: in south side – 59 cm

The distance between manikkaal and H2 ie: in north side – 60 cm

 

Distance / width between the holes H1 and H2 – 36.5 cm

 

Another hole was found after a distance of 80 cm from the first pair of holes H1 & H2

 

Diameter of Hole 3 – east west 9 cm

(round) - north south 8 cm (max)

- north south 6 cm (min)

 

A rectangular piece (l x b) – was found near hole 3. It was a piece used for repairing the canoe found at a depth of2.40 – 2.50 m.

 

Thwarts or manikkaal

Length of manikkaal - 18 cm (top) ; 31 cm (bottom)

Width of manikkaal - top width (n) = 17 ; top width (s) = 16

Height of manikkaal - inside en = 7 cm ; inside es = 6 cm

Outside wn = 6 cm ; outside ws – 5 cm

A piece of wood and laterite chunks and potsherds were found sticking to the canoe. It was seen at 3.65 m from western part of canoe.

 

Length of wood piece – 32 cm ; Breadth of wood piece – 2 cm

 

It is evident that the boat had been repaired and made water proof. In some parts it has got two layers of wood and in between these layers evidence of caulking can be seen. No nails were used. A particular material (made of organic material?) was used for caulking. The bottom layer measures approximately 2.60 by 25 (l x b)

 

Canoe

Length – 28.5 cm ; Breadth – max 11 cm, min 10cm ; thickness 4 cm (max) 3 cm (min)

 

Hole 4 – seen near the rectangular piece of wood; almost square in shape

Dia- ew- 7 cm

 

Hole 5 – used for fixing thwart

Diameter – 4.5 x 4.5 cm (oval in shape); distance from hole 4 to 5 – 90 cm

 

Hole 6- may be used for fixing thwart.

Diameter – 4 x 4 cm (square in shape); distance from hole 5 to 6 – 96.cm

 

Hole 7 – was found parallel to hole 6. May be used for fixing thwart

Diameter – (square in shape)

Exact measurement not known since half of the portion was found damaged.

 

Thickness of Canoe – 2 cm

 

 



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3.2.5. Bollards

 

Seven bollards were found in a line almost parallel to the structure 007 and canoe. Earlier named as bollards A,B,C,D.E renamed as B5, B4, B3,B2 and B1 respectively. One more bollard was found at a depth of 2,60 m. and is named as B6. Pole H confined to be bollard and named B7.

 

Distance of the bollard from structure

 

B1- 13-17 cm

B2- 19 cm

B3 – very close to the structure – 5-10 cm

B4- 13 cm

B5 – 20 cm

B6 – 25-30 cm

B7 – 30 cm away from the south side section of Ext VI

 

Measurement of B5

 

Max ht – 60 cm

Max breadth – 13 cm

 

It has got a pointed end but the top portion was damaged. It was tapering towards the bottom point.

Distance from B1 to B2 – 1.03

Distance from B1 to B3 - 1.72

Distance from B1 to B4 - 2.23

Distance from B1 toB5 - 3.23

Distance from B1 to B6 - 3.50

Distance from B1 to B7 - 5.40

Distance between B1 & B2 - 1.03

Distance between B2 & B3 - 71 cm

Distance between B3 & B4 - 41 cm

Distance between B4 & B5 - 1 m

Distance between B5 & B6 - 35 cm

Distance between B6 & B7 - 2 m

 

Three planks / poles were also found near the canoe. All were in highly damaged condition.

Earlier planks / poles were named as F, G, H, I – renamed F- P1 , G- P2, H- B7, I – P3

 

P1 found on the southern side of the boat – 2.25 m from the manikkaal, where the damage could be seen. Diameter – 10-11 cm circular in shape

 

P2 found on the southern side of the boat attached to the southern side section of Extn VI.

Almost square in shape – 15 x 15 cm

 

P3 found 7 -10 cm away from the south side section of Ext VI and 1.05 cm away from the east side section of Ext VI – removed.

 

3.2.6. Interpretation

 

The excavation clearly proved that this area was the northeastern boundary of the site, which originally had a water body perhaps a canal, stream or thodu that was sufficiently large to maneuver canoes of 6 m plus. It is possible that this thodu could have been connected to the river Periyar directly and indirectly to the Arabian Sea. The most important evidence were the wharf and the canoe. The in situ finds of amphorae suggest that goods were shipped and unloaded from this point. This spot was definitely one of the access points to the site of Patttanam. The wharf was a well-planned structure and matched the orientation of the other structures at Pattanam. Further excavations are necessary to trace the exact plan of the wharf.

 

*These are only model trench reports. The other trench reports will be added after their completion and further whetting ensured before publication.

Chapter 4

 

IMPORTANT FINDS

 

Human Bones

Fragments of human bones, including those identifiable as parts of cranium were found in the earliest sand layers of Trenches PT07-I & II. This is an unusual find in Kerala context where such evidences are lost due to either the then mortuary practices or the poor preserving condition of the moist and acidic soil.

 

Brick wall and Storage Jars

In Trench II, two large ceramic jars--one adjacent to and another underneath a brick wall--were found. These jars were probably used for storage purposes. The brick wall was built over one of the jars.

 

Chera Coins

Two copper coins of Sangam/first Chera period were found in Trench PT07-II. These coins have an elephant in standing posture on the obverse and bow-arrow [Chera Emblem] and a goad (thotti) on the reverse.

 

Brick Platform

A brick structure resembling a floor/platform was found in Trench PT07-III. It has sixty-nine post holes/pits dug into the bricks. In the absence of residential remains and its proximity to a structure identifiable as wharf in Trench IV, this floor seems to be part of a storage space.

 

Ring Well

An early historic water well, made of three terracotta rings was found in Trench PT07-III.

Wharf with Bollards

A huge structure (6 +m in Length and 7.30 m in width) made of a mixture of laterite granules, lime, pottery and clay with an outer brick lining was found close to a waterlogged deposit in Trench PT07-IV. The brick lining is intact towards the lower part of the wharf. The ground adjacent to the brick lining has five wooden pegs (bollards?) intended to secure the boats. The waterlogged deposit yielded sherds of amphora, rouletted ware etc.

 

Dug out Canoe

A six-meter long wooden dug out canoe was found parallel to the wharf structure about three meters below the surface level in Trench PT07-IV. This boat is in a highly degenerated condition.

 

Gold ornament

An intricately designed gold ornament weighing 1.18 gm. was found in Trench II. By contextual evidence this belongs to the early historic period.

 

Indo-pacific beads

One thousand seventy nine beads of glass and stones were found and glass beads dominate. Stone beads were made of mostly Carnelian, quartz and soapstone. Evidence of stone bead making in the form of raw material-cores, blanks and chips

 

Iron Objects

Fair quantity of iron objects comprising mostly of nails, knives, slag etc., were found.

The micro-structure of the samples from Pattanam shows a higher carbon steel while that of Roman nails were of pure wrought iron with no carbon. More analysis is expected on the indigenous ferrous technology in relation to the non-local.

 

Ceramics

Local ceramics include the black and red ware and coarse red ware. The coarse red ware predominates. The imported pottery include, Roman amphora, terra sigillata, Parthian/Sassanian-Islamic glazed pottery, Yemenite torpedo jar fragments, Chinese sherds and the fine rouletted ware

 

The Botanical remains

The botanical remains include charred remains, coconut shells & wood from water logged deposit and impressions on pottery .Impression of Oriza sativa (rice) husk and Artocarpus leaf has been noticed on pottery and bricks. The dugout canoe was made of Anjily (Artocarpus Hirsutus Lamk.) and the bollards were made of teak wood (Tectona grandis).

 

Scripts and Graffiti

A significant aspect of the finds from Pattanam is the near absence of script and graffiti. However very few scripts and graffiti marks resembling brahmi were discovered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendices I.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Details

No

Description

1

Plotting of the Trench

2

Trench Activity

3

Trench PT 07 I

4

Plotting of the Trench

5

Geologists collecting samples

6

Early historic bricks

7

Red Coarse Ware

8

Bones

9

Early Chera Coin

10

Gold Ornament

11

Trench PT 07 II

12

Iron Objects

13

Rouletted Ware Dish

14

Beads

15

Wastage of bead making

16

Wharf and Wooden Canoe

17

Samples being collected for OSL

18

Trench Activity

19

Trench PT 07 I

20

Trial Trench PT 07 TT

21

Burnt Clay Floor

22

Wooden Canoe

23

Brick Wall with Storage jar

24

Wharf with brick lining

25

Canoe and bollards

26

Brick Platform PT 07 III

27

Brick Platform (another view)

28

Rouletted ware

29

Sassanian / Parthian

30

Amphora handle

31

Amphora handle

32

Amphora sherds from a locus

33

Chinese Sherds

34

Brahmi Script in a Terracotta rim

35

Botanical remains

36

Ring Well

37

Terra Sigillata

38

West Asian Sherd

 



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