The archaeological findings at Pattanam was the first habitat site excavated in Kerala, said P.J. Cherian, director of the Kerala Council for Historical Research.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Indian Ocean exchanges and significance of Pattanam archaeological research,' organised by the Department of History of Maharaja's College, Ernakulam, on Tuesday.

It was at Arrikkamedu, near Pondicherry, that the remains of a habitat were found earlier. Pattanam means a town or a port city in at least a dozen of Indian languages. Researchers are yet to locate the sites of ancient ports of South India, including the ones in Kerala, he said.

The archaeological finds from Pattanam indicated 3,000 years of continuous history.

The finding of beads and semi-precious stones of fine quality in large numbers from Pattanam indicated that beads manufacturing units existed in this area, he said.

Presenting a paper on the archaeology of the lower Periyar basin, Rajan Chedambath, secretary of the Centre for Heritage Environment and Development of the Kochi Corporation, said habitational deposits in the lower Periyar basin indicated the existence of many significant archaeological sites in the region.

Pattanam was one of the many such sites in the region. There is the need for serious scientific exploration in the region to unearth these important sites and artefacts, Dr. Rajan said.

In areas like Mathilakam, which is only few kilometres north of the Periyar river, pottery of fine ware quality were found. However, no attention was given to study and protect these important sites. Detailed studies need to be conducted to understand the internal and Indian Ocean external trade, he said.

While talking about Pattanam, the painstaking efforts of early researchers starting from Anujan Achan of the Cochin State Archaeology need to be mentioned. Pattanam was the result of such archaeological efforts, he said.

There are a large number of significant archaeological sites in the Lower Periyar Basin, which are also very closely connected to Indian Ocean trade and internal trade, he said.

U.A. Mohandas, Principal of the college, presided.

Valsamma Sebastian, Mathew Varghese, Prasannakumari, M.L. Prakash and B. Venugopala Menon were among those who attended.

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