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Underwater Archaeology in India – Ocean of Alternatives

Underwater Archaeology in India – Ocean of Alternatives

Underwater Archaeology excavations at Dwarka

Anuradha – Namaste! At present we now have Dr. A S Gaur who’s a marine archaeologist. I first found underwater archaeology once I visited Dwarka. I learn a guide by Dr. S R Rao who has finished archaeology in Dwarka. Then I discovered that this was finished by the Nationwide Institute of Oceanography which is correct subsequent to my residence in Goa and I requested Dr. Anirudh Singh Gaur Ji to inform us a bit of bit about underwater archaeology. Anirudh ji welcome to the detours.

Underwater Archaeology in India

A S Gaur – Thanks a lot Anuradha ji. I’m glad that you are interested in maritime archeology. Let me clarify what underwater archaeology is! On the Nationwide Institute of Oceanography, our mandate is to know each side of oceanography that features physics, chemistry, and biology. A small group is engaged on underwater archaeology.

What’s Underwater Archaeology?

Sea stage isn’t static, each time it goes up and down. It’s stated round 1,000 years in the past the ocean stage was 100 meters decrease. At the moment a serious inhabitants of the coastal space was staying in that individual space. Subsequently when sea ranges began rising these closely inhabited websites obtained submerged. Now that creates scope for underwater archaeology. In later durations the vary of 1-2 meter sea stage has modified. Within the coastal areas like Gujarat or Tamil Nadu, the land formation is mild and sloppy. So an increase of 1 meter additionally impacts a big space. Finally some coastal habitation can be affected. In Gujarat, within the historic interval, 1 meter has gone down, which implies no matter web site was near the coast is not accessible inside the coastal space. That’s how that web site can be plentiful. These stays are one of many main scopes of underwater archaeology.

The second side we research within the shipwrecks,  proper from Indus civilization, even previous to that one delivery has been the main side of human society. That led to commerce and commerce with the up to date tradition civilization and there’s a well-known reference that folks of Indus Valley civilization traded with the individuals of Mesopotamia and Egyptian civilization by the ocean route. Due to antiquity in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, this can not undergo a land route as it is going to be the longest one and the ocean route would be the shortest one. The Indus Valley civilization had the longest shoreline of its territory whenever you evaluate it with Mesopotamia and  Egypt. Due to this fact maritime actions of Indus valley civilization had been rather more superior than we evaluate it to different up to date civilizations. Within the strategy of touring many occasions human error, climate circumstances all led to the drowning of the ship. We discovered a variety of shipwrecks alongside the Indian coastal space.

Underwater Archaeology Websites of India

The third main side we attempt to perceive is commerce and commerce as a result of there are references. We get to say one international discover, like a peripheral of the company which mentions that gadgets from central India used to come back to Varyakaja or Bharukachh. This nearly included the expansion of any human society to this point we all know that this maritime exercise has performed a really essential position as a result of with out that any progress change of concepts was one of many main features of progress. This maritime exercise or commerce route has performed a significant position to know. In any other case, if society lives in isolation it is going to be very tough to develop as huge as industrialization.

We see no matter basis of civilization was laid throughout Indus civilization continued till Newtonian science began on the earth and it was good. There was no want to change these specific issues when it comes to city planning, metallurgy, or agricultural system.

Underwater Archaeology in Gujarat

We’ve got began from Gujarat the place we now have websites from all of the durations together with Indus civilization, historic interval, and medieval interval. Gujarat had over 2000 kilometers of shoreline. We counted the variety of ports and amongst them, we began the first-ever investigation at Dwarka and Wager Dwarka. That’s one place that’s indifferent from the remainder of the Saurashtra by a Rann that is known as Okha Rann, and a specific space is known as Okhamandal or earlier it was referred to as Usha Mandal. Usha was related to Aniruddha, one character in Mahabharata.

Stone Anchors from Bet Dwarka
Stone Anchors from Wager Dwarka

There are a variety of websites in Okhamandal like Dwaraka, Wager Dwarka, Nageshwar and there are practically a dozen websites which might be for historic and medieval durations. All these websites are related to some or one other spiritual system. Amongst them, the oldest is Nageshwar which is an Indus civilization web site. Dwarka, or Wager Dwarka, and different websites that are of the early medieval interval. That’s what we now have seen and investigated underwater. In Dwarka, we now have discovered various constructions in water depths of three to 10 meters water depth. These stone constructions, there have been partitions, sub coral and semicircular stones amongst them. Curiously we now have discovered a lot of stone anchors. Anchors are required in boats, this means the harbor a part of it. If that harbor is likely one of the oldest harbors then we will discover these stays and land excavations carried out by Dr. Rao and Deccan Faculty. They clearly indicated that no matter proof that they had discovered signifies that 5 to 6 occasions Dwarka was submerged within the sea seashores.

In current occasions like 2004, the tsunami has destroyed a serious a part of the jap coast and in related sorts of cyclones which actually have an effect on coastal websites.  This sort of phenomenon may need come to Dwarka additionally however that’s recorded in numerous kinds. In reference to Mahabharata, Dwarka was submerged within the sea although that area is given otherwise however that is true that the main a part of this metropolis was destroyed by the ocean.

At Wager Dwarka, we investigated close to to Jetty the place we discovered stays of a shipwreck. If our interpretation is appropriate then it’s the oldest shipwreck courting again to the Indo-Roman interval. Could also be round 1800-2000 years outdated. This one is the oldest shipwreck in that individual space we now have discovered to this point. In Wager Dwarka, we now have discovered stunning fish from the land a part of it and that dates to late Indus Valley civilization say round 4000 years outdated and expertise that was launched in that fish is nearly much like what we’re getting at present.  There was no change within the size of the fish. Once we inquired native individuals, they steered that one can catch fish of 10-15 kilo and to catch that huge fish one has to go a bit of deeper facet, so to go that deeper one has to drift on some sort of raft to go inside.

Investigation in Wager Dwarka has been steered that a wide range of fishes are discovered right here repeatedly. We obtained many corals similar to sacred shells which characterize Lord Vishnu. Once we moved from the Okhamandal area to the south then we got here to the place referred to as Mul Dwarka. In Porbandar, we now have discovered numerous proof of the medieval interval in addition to the British interval. Additional to the east, we’re having Navibandar the place the fort is simply on the coast. Fort was defending these mariners from pirates. We’ve got loads of proof in that space that counsel that these had been persevering with their abroad commerce and commerce in Gujarat. Prabhasa is itself a Harappan web site and there may be even pre – Harappan proof.  An excavation finished by Deccan school says there was one warehouse simply on the riverside. We’ve got investigated that space and that web site may need served as a port up to now. We’ve got clear proof from Harappan time until steady abroad commerce and commerce. For maritime exercise hardcore proof, one can get is the stone anchor.

Stone Anchors

Anuradha – How are you aware the age of those stone anchors?

A S Gaur – These are based mostly on the manufacturing typology. The earliest one is a special one, the most recent one is a special one. These days iron is used; earlier they used native stone and basalt. Primarily based upon materials in addition to the expertise we will come to know the age of stone anchors.

Anuradha – That are the oldest stone anchors that we now have discovered within the Gujarat space?

A S Gaur – From Somnath, we now have to go to Kodinar, there may be once more a Mul Dwarka web site. Related sort of Harappan web site simply on the coast. There are half a dozen early historic websites in that space. There may be one round construction in Mul Dwarka simply standing as much as 4 -5 meters lengthy. Native individuals referred to as it Diwa Dandi, which implies lighthouse. It was used till the Nineteen Eighties when one cyclone hit and the highest portion was broken. If our interpretation and native individuals’s perception is appropriate then that is the oldest surviving lighthouse in India courting again to the medieval interval, perhaps the 12-Thirteenth century. This is likely one of the most attention-grabbing features of that space.

Underwater Archaeology excavations at Dwarka
Diver at marine web site of Dwarka

There may be proof that Gujarati merchants visited Socotra island that’s south of Yemen. There may be one cave referred to as Haque cave the place investigation has revealed round 200 inscriptions. Out of 200 inscriptions, practically 180 inscriptions are in Brahmi, courting again to the primary to the third century. We’ve got discovered seals in Haque cave much like those in Bharuch. The names of the individuals had been much like what we’re getting in Bajracharya, within the Saputara cave. Another necessary side is that there are a selection of coastal temples in Gujarat named Shikotra Mata. The Shikorta Mata time period may need originated from Shikotra as a result of individuals had been going there repeatedly from Gujarat. When they’re coming again after a secure journey, they worship Mata. We’ve got seen in India that something that protects, individuals merely worship.

Anuradha- It’s like Shakti which tries to guard, it’s guaranteeing the protection of vacationers.

A S  Gaur –  Related issues come within the story of Satyanarayana. All these tales are associated to the dealer neighborhood. Lothal, a well-known Harappan web site that was presupposed to be portside. Now the federal government of India is making this maritime heritage middle, one of many greatest initiatives. Gujarat has witnessed probably the most necessary and essential components of maritime commerce and commerce. Buying and selling is the inheritance of Gujarati individuals from the start of civilization. In the direction of south in Maharashtra, Sopara is a vital place, like Elephanta buying and selling middle and lots of extra.

Marine Archaeology in Maharashtra

Anuradha – Elephanta is a uncommon cave system that’s devoted solely to the Hindu deity Shiva. It actually has Shiva Purana written on its wall. What was it like an island which was utilized by merchants to remain or a port?

A S Gaur – This was truly often known as Dharapuri. It has served as a port throughout Indo-Roman commerce when throughout early historic occasions sea stage was decrease; maybe different ports like Kalyan or Sopara may not be serving as a port. This was serving as a port. Proof like Roman cash and so many different issues are there.

Coming to the south all the way down to this Dabhol, there may be one attention-grabbing temple referred to as Loyaleshwar temple on the jetty. Loyali in Marathi means anchor, they usually had been worshiping one anchor in that temple as a Devi or Goddess. Dabhol is about 200 km south of Mumbai. Additional south there’s a Vijaydurga fort and one dockyard from the Maratha interval. There’s a place additional within the south referred to as Sindhudurg. This can be a fort inside one small island and we now have discovered stone anchors from there.

Anchors from Goa Excavations
Anchors from Goa Excavations

In Goa, we now have found 4-5 shipwrecks. There’s a port web site referred to as GopakaPattanam close to the Pilar space. We’ve got discovered proof of port and commerce relations with distant locations. In Kerala, we now have dived at Kollam. Quite a lot of Chinese language cash are discovered. It seems that there was one shipwreck in that space so once they had been dredging the port they discovered an enormous variety of cash and pottery.

Anuradha – It nonetheless continues to make use of Chinese language nets in that area and within the fishing trade.

AS Gaur – It seems that the Chinese language had been buying and selling as much as Kollam. From Kollam, they transported issues to the opposite rafts. There may be one Chinese language colony in Kollam named Cheena Kottaram. One anchor was present in Gujarat close to Hatha, which is one thing like Chinese language.

In Lakshadweep, we now have explored three to 4 shipwrecks on the southernmost island Minicoy.

Marine Sies on East Coast of India

On the east coast, there’s a well-known place referred to as Poompuhar the place we now have explored. It was steered that like Dwarka on the west coast, an analogous sort of metropolis existed at Poompuhar in the course of the Sangam interval. We get some proof of pottery or some constructions in from intertidal zones to five-six meters depth. Locals consider that the king forgot to rejoice Indra’s pageant so town was submerged. Now we all know that this occasion occurred.

See Also

Stone Anchors from Dwarka
Stone Anchors from Dwarka

Little north, in Mahabalipuram there are attention-grabbing traditions there have been 7 temples out of which 6 obtained submerged. There isn’t a file within the Indian books, these had been recorded by the British traveler after which based mostly on their data we now have explored. We are able to’t positively say these had been temples however they’re man-made constructions and we now have discovered 3 – 5 meter water depth there are some stays even at 9-meter water depth. No matter custom exists there may be some actual fact in these tales.

Anuradha – How true is it that folks say that the tsunami got here in 2004 and when the water retreated, these constructions had been seen?

A S Gaur – No images or satellite tv for pc imagery is on the market of that. It occurred all of the sudden, and through that point not everyone had cameras or different issues so no images are there, so this was a difficulty. Many individuals have knowledgeable us they’ve seen temples when it was uncovered. In archeology, we classify these as habitation websites. If we didn’t get any pottery websites or these issues we recommend it is probably not a habitational space, this can be one thing else. Until nineteenth CE there have been stays like pillars, and images of the identical have been printed. 

Transferring northwards, in Vishakeshwara temple some work was carried out by Andhra college the place the medieval interval temple was submerged within the sea, some related sorts of issues of pure occasions could have destroyed it.

Anuradha – It’s stated that Visakhapatnam is called after a Devi temple named Vishakha Devi. It might imply there may be Vishakeswara temple as effectively. Folklore says that the temple was submerged once more due to some causes that the ocean engulfed it. Will probably be very attention-grabbing to see if we truly discover the stays of that temple.

A S Gaur – We’ve got not but taken up that web site. Then additional on we now have Chilka lake that was a really energetic space of maritime exercise. Individuals used to go to southeastern Asian international locations and lots of websites have been excavated in these areas which had been having some sort of abroad connection. From additional north Tamralipti Port which was well-known in the course of the early historic time which was simply within the estuaries and Ganges. Commerce used to occur from right here to plains of Ganga like Varanasi and Kanpur. 

Anuradha- I’ve learn some 15 -Sixteenth CE Bengali poems through which they point out this. Do you do Underwater Archaeology solely in oceans or in rivers or lakes additionally?

A S Gaur – Once we say Underwater Archaeology it’s going to embrace every part. To this point we now have not gone within the freshwater as such, we now have been concentrating within the coastal areas. There’s a quote from Arthashastra that claims water transport is simpler, cheaper than land transport. He acknowledged it as early as his time. He ensured the transportation from Magadha by the Ganges was straightforward for buying and selling. Riverbeds could not give an excessive amount of proof as rivers go on altering the course. Ghats on rivers additionally get renovated occasionally. 

Underwater Archaeology as occupation

Anuradha – So for our listeners, I need to let you know that Anirudh ji is likely one of the three solely marine archeologists we now have in India at present. Sir, inform us if any individual desires to take it up Underwater Archaeology as a occupation what are the choices they’ve, and what’s the route they should take?

A S Gaur – Certified archeologists should have a grasp’s in archeology and historical historical past. He has to study diving. There may be a variety of new scope rising in India. This can be a virgin frontier and websites might be developed as underwater tourism websites like in Dwarka, Mahabalipuram or Wager Dwarka the place water is clear. We are able to promote underwater heritage websites. Widespread individuals cannot perceive it. It’s skilled archeologists who can open this department and take it ahead. Similar to the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, and different such monuments, we will additionally search for underwater websites. Even Indian home tourism might be developed to a larger extent and folks will find it irresistible. 

Anuradha – What are the avenues? Who can make use of me? What do you see is the scope of Marine or Underwater Archaeology?

A S Gaur – Truly there may be one small factor in ASI  nevertheless it’s nearly non-functional and we’re engaged on it. We’ve got simply marketed one or two posts. We’re going to get a few individuals who will proceed right here. India has a giant scope, every a part of our coastal state has a giant scope each in analysis and in commercialization. Direct income to the state is coming by tourism. Individuals are coming to study diving.

For scientific functions, we’re utilizing Underwater Archaeology instruments for understanding the paleo shoreline. Like oceanographers we are going to do some samples they may acquire and they’re going to attempt to analyze. If there may be undisputed proof {that a} web site is current right here that nobody will construct underwater, nobody will make two away from the shoreline. That is the proof that clearly signifies the motion of the shoreline with altering sea ranges. We need to develop the coastal space by trade and this knowledge can be utilized.

Anuradha – There are alternatives in analysis, tourism, cultural heritage, and underwater heritage in Underwater Archaeology. There are ample alternatives if individuals take it. Nice sir!  Thanks for giving us an introduction to Underwater Archaeology.

Transcription by Pallavi Thakur as a part of IndiTales Internship Program

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