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Puducherry Before the Age of Indo-Roman (Pre-Periplus) Trade Phase


Affiliations
1 Tagore Arts College, Puducherry, India
 

The results of early excavations are promoted to conclude that the site Arikamedu was a base on Indian east coast for Roman maritime trade during early current era. The question on pre-urban phase at Arikamedu which lead to the Periplus trade is yet to be known. The pre-periplus or the proto historic of Puducherry is almost the beginning stage of urban development. The proto historic age of Puducherry seems that it began with the Iron Age which is popularly known to the scholars as megaliths. The available evidence suggests that the Iron Age of Puducherry seems largely to have been restricted to burials. Many hundreds of Urn burials were unearthed either unknowingly or systematically. The systematic excavations were carried out at Souttoukeny and Mouttrapaleon by Casals in 1950s. The early one was with Cist burials and the later one was Urn burials. Very recently nearly fifty Iron Age burials of Urn and Cist types were excavated at Auroville by the author. In addition to this, the materials brought form the accidental discoveries are put together as sources for the study to understand the prehabitation of Indo-Roman trade phase (pre-periplus) and ancient urbanization at Arikamedu in Puducherry.

Keywords

Cairn Circle, Lateritic, Megalithic, Neo-Chalcolithic, Neolithic, Periplus, Sarcophagus.
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  • Casal JM, Casal G. Site Urbainet Sites Funéraires des Environs de Pondichéry. In his report Casals noted that those Faucheux’s collections like pottery, a stone object and a bronze bracelet were neo-chalcolithic. Paris; 1956. 119–129.
  • Leshnik LS. South Indian Megalithic Burials-The Pandukkal Complex. Wiesbaden; 1974.
  • Laffitte N. Reporte d’Ensembles Sur les Fouilles Exécutées dans le Sud de l’Inde. Paris; 1932.
  • Ravitchandirane P. Prehistoric Times of Pondicherry. HuSS: International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences. 2014; 1: 28–30.
  • Wheeler REM, Ghosh A, Deva K. Arikamedu: an Indo– Roman Trading Station on the East Coast of India. Ancient India. 1946; 2: 17-125.
  • Casals identification on Fr. Faucheux collections like perforated black lid is commonly noticed in the modern pottery. Casal described this as a black surfaced handmade lid. Even in the modern days this type of lid is used to filter the cooked rice. In addition, the illustrated materials have been found on the surface and not from the excavation which is very hard to date without any comparative sample. A bronze bracelet with trumpet ends from Faucheux collections (Faucheux L. Une Vieille cite indienne près de Pondichéry Virampatanam. Pondicherry; 1945), illustrated by Casals does not at all fit into the known peninsular Neolithic assemblage. Hence, the Casals report on Fr. Faucheux collection is not sufficient to conclude that Gorimedu is a Neolithic assemble site. At present the study found no such evidence on the surface of Gorimedu and its vicinity. However, close to Gorimedu a village named Moratandi the study found some of proto historic artifacts and a terra cotta ring well on the surface. Mangalam is located near Villionur in Puducherry. A stone tool was identified as from the collections of Fr. Faucheux. However, only two illustrations were published without any description by Casals as neo-chalcolithic.
  • Pattabiramin PZ.Sites Archangéliques pré Historiques de Environs de Pondichéry. Revue Historique de l’Inde Française. 1948 ; (septième): 147–50.
  • Begley V. Sources of Pondicherry’s History: Prehistoric to Early Historical Period. Revue Historique de Pondichéry. Pondicherry. 1987; 15: 1–20.
  • Indian Archaeological Review. 1984; 87: 77.
  • Pingel, P. “The Auroville Megaliths”. The Indian Magazine of her People and Culture; 1987. 44–51.
  • Pattabiramin PZ. op. cit. 1948. 147–50.
  • Kuppuswamy. Fernel Urns of Bahour. Pondicherry: Revue Historique de la Pondichery; 1974-75 ; 12 :1–10.
  • Ravitchandirane P. Stratigraphy and Structural Context of Arikamedu in East and West. IsIAO.57: Italy; 2007. 223–24.
  • Dubreuil JG. Les ruines romaines de Pondichéry. Bulletin de l’Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient XL. Paris; 1941; 2: 448–50.
  • Casal JM. Fouilles de Virampatnam – Arikamedu’. Paris; 1949.
  • The rouletted ware was first identified, named and dated in Arikamedu, then when the scholars are commonly using the term to describe or to date the early historical age sites. Begley V. Pottery from the Northern Sector. 1982-1992 in Begley V et al. The Ancient Port of Arikamedu: New excavations and Researches 1989-92. 1996. And also see Begley V. Chronology. Begley V et al. The Ancient Port of Arikamedu: New excavations and Researches 1989-92. 2004. II. EFEO. Pondicherry: 106–7. In some extent some scholars are relating rouletted ware sites with roman trade also (Ravitchandirane P. op. cit. 2007; 228–30).
  • Begley V. 1983. Arikamedu Reconsider. American Journal of Archaeology: 461–81. https://doi.org/10.2307/504104
  • Casal JM. op. cit. 1949; 31. And see also Begley V. op. cit. 1996; 14 for detail discussion.
  • Wheeler REM. Rome beyond its frontiers: London; 1954. 47.
  • Casal dated Arikamedu Iron Age (megalithic) levels as early 2nd century BCE. See Casal JM. ibid; 1949: 43. He excavated two Iron Age burial sites and dated those burials sites as early 2nd century BCE. See Casal JM, Casal G. Site Urbain et Site. op.cit. Paris; 1956. Recently we have excavated Iron Age burials at Auroville. We found the Burials in different types and different periods in Iron Age culture. On the basis of TL dating method the burials are dating between 500 BCE and 300 BCE. See Ravitchandirane P. Archaeological finds from Puducherry Region in Amaravathi. Chennai; 2017: 185–196.
  • Casal JM, Casal G. op. cit. 1956. see layer 8 in fig.15.
  • Casals raises the question whether the sati ritual might not be documented either in Muthrapaleaon or in Suttukeni. Ibid.
  • Begley V. op. cit.; 1983: 478.
  • Gabelé YR. La tombe mégalithique de Suttukeni. Nouvelles de Pondichéry II., 1958; 4. Reprint in Revue Historique de Pondichéry. Pondicherry; (1974-75) ; 12: 31–5.
  • Casal JM, Casal G. op. cit. 1956; plate-XXVI A.
  • Lal BB. Sisupalgarh 1948: An early Historical Fort in Eastern India. Ancient India. 1949; 5. plate-XLVI B.
  • Begley V. op. cit.; 1983: 469–71.
  • Pingel P. The Auroville Megaliths. The Indian Magazine op.cit. 1987 March: 44–51.
  • Begley V. Excavations of Iron Age Burials at Pomparippu, 1970’. Ancient Ceylon. 1981; 4: 85.

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  • Puducherry Before the Age of Indo-Roman (Pre-Periplus) Trade Phase

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Authors

P. Ravitchandirane
Tagore Arts College, Puducherry, India

Abstract


The results of early excavations are promoted to conclude that the site Arikamedu was a base on Indian east coast for Roman maritime trade during early current era. The question on pre-urban phase at Arikamedu which lead to the Periplus trade is yet to be known. The pre-periplus or the proto historic of Puducherry is almost the beginning stage of urban development. The proto historic age of Puducherry seems that it began with the Iron Age which is popularly known to the scholars as megaliths. The available evidence suggests that the Iron Age of Puducherry seems largely to have been restricted to burials. Many hundreds of Urn burials were unearthed either unknowingly or systematically. The systematic excavations were carried out at Souttoukeny and Mouttrapaleon by Casals in 1950s. The early one was with Cist burials and the later one was Urn burials. Very recently nearly fifty Iron Age burials of Urn and Cist types were excavated at Auroville by the author. In addition to this, the materials brought form the accidental discoveries are put together as sources for the study to understand the prehabitation of Indo-Roman trade phase (pre-periplus) and ancient urbanization at Arikamedu in Puducherry.

Keywords


Cairn Circle, Lateritic, Megalithic, Neo-Chalcolithic, Neolithic, Periplus, Sarcophagus.

References





DOI: https://doi.org/10.15613/hijrh%2F2017%2Fv4i2%2F167544