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The Archaeology of the Ports of the Early Medieval Konkan - The Gateways into Western India

24 Apr '17 6.30 pm

Image: Sassanian-Islamic Turquoise Glazed Ware, Sanjan, Gujarat.

Despite the earliest excavations in India by an Indian being on the west coast of India, Indian Archaeology soon forgot this region with many a stalwart saying there was either too little or no evidence of pre-Colonial occupation in this area.

This was despite the huge corpus of historical data which spoke about the ports of the west coast of India in glowing detail calling them emporia of Indian goods from the 1st cent C.E. till the period of the Mughal Empire.

The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, works by Ptolemy, Cosmas Indicopleustes, Al-Masudi and Al-Biruni, and many more texts give extensive details of the ports of the western coast and the goods for which they were famous.
It was only after the excavations at Sanjan (2001-2003) that interest in the archaeology of the west coast was rekindled thanks mainly due to the profile of ceramic indicators unearthed.

Till 2001 there were no known early medieval ports on the west coast of India. The only evidences were from Banbhore in Sindh (Pakistan) and Mantai in Sri Lanka.

Today, thanks to the comparative data made available from the Sanjan Excavations there are at least three dozen sites ranging from shipwrecks to ports and to hinterland trade networks.

The Sanjan and subsequent excavations and explorations have completely changed our understanding of Western India and its trade networks thus writing a new chapter in the history and archaeology of South Asia.

Please note that registrations via email are required for this free lecture. Kindly email us at info@jp-india.org.


Kurush F. Dalal

Kurush F. Dalal is Assistant Professor (Archaeology) at the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, University of Mumbai. He completed his doctorate from the University of Pune in 2001 and is a veteran of archaeological excavations at over 10 sites. He was field director of the Sanjan Excavations (2002-2004) and is currently directing the first ever excavation conducted by the University of Mumbai at the site of Chandore (2012 onwards). He has taught archaeology, art history, heritage management at various undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Dr. Dalal has a number of publications featured in peer reviewed journals to his credit covering the entire gamut of Indian archaeology from the Early Historical to the Medieval and even the Colonial Eras.



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Queens Mansion, 3rd Floor, G. Talwatkar Marg,
Fort, Mumbai - 400001. India.
Tel: +91-22-2207 2974 / 2207 2975.
Fax: +91-22-2207 2976.
Email: to.jnanapravaha@gmail.com,

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