ASI to be prominent partner in 11th session of Muziris excavations

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be a prominent partner in the 11th season of excavations at Pattanam and Mathilakam villages in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts. The excavations are being spearheaded by the PAMA Institute for the Advancement of Transdisciplinary Archaeological Sciences, a non-profit research organisation.

The ASI has named K.P. Mohandas, head of its Thrissur Circle; Linto Alappat, head of the Geology Department, Christ College, Irinjalakuda; Rajesh C.V. and Abhayan G., faculty, Department of Archaeology, Kerala University; Veenus Jain, head of History, Amity University; and Deepak P., faculty, Department of Computer Science, Queen’s University, Belfast; as co-directors of the project.

The Pattanam excavations, launched in 2006-07, resumed in January 2020 after a five-year hiatus. A main objective of the Muziris research project is to gather evidence and analyse ancient India’s trade and cultural transactions from the coast of Gujarat to Bengal and beyond. So far, excavations at Pattanam have unearthed relics of three dozen cultures linked to diverse geographies that extend from the Hepu site in southern China to Catalonia in Spain, from 5th century BC to 5th century AD. They point towards a highly sophisticated culture flourishing in the Periyar delta, with its indigenous settlements dating back to 1,000 BC.

Crucial artefacts

The excavations of the 10th season had unearthed important artefacts, including a seal ring with the image of Greek sphinx closely resembling the seal ring of Augustus Caesar — the first Roman Emperor — and a Greco-Roman head statuette.

Besides promoting evidence-based research, PAMA aims to transform Pattanam village into a knowledge hub and a model world heritage site, with public participation, according to R.V.G. Menon and P.J. Cherian, chairman and director respectively of PAMA. The field research would commence at Pattanam and Mathilakam once the COVID-19 situation is under control.

Mapping the Periyar

In the meantime, PAMA is planning a ward-based survey on both banks of the Periyar to document the material surface remains and to collect associated information from local communities. The project titled Periyar River Valley: Mapping Materials and Memories aims to discern the role of Pattanam hinterland in the making of the Muziris port.

PAMA has created a digital group of ward members of the panchayats/municipalities on the banks of the Periyar for the exercise. The aim is to familiarise them with digital modes of investigation and help them develop a deeper understanding of the Periyar that flows from the Western Ghats to the Indian Ocean.

Students and science enthusiasts can become part of this project by registering and paying online a fee of ₹200. Details are available on

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 11:38:39 PM |

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