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Ref ID: 29960
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Begley, Vemala
Title: Arikamedu reconsidered
Date: 1983
Source: American Journal of Archaeology
DOI: 10.2307/504104
Language: English
Abstract: Reconsidered here are the chronology and significance of the important South Indian coastal site of Arikamedu, which was excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1945 and Jean-Marie Casal in 1947-1950. Finds of fragmentary amphorae and Arretine ware in stratified contexts led Wheeler to identify the site as an Indo-Roman trading station, which he believed was founded during the time of Augustus and lasted for about two centuries. Even through subsequent investigations revealed conflicting evidence, Wheeler’s basic interpretation has gone unchallenged until now
as a result it has become increasingly difficult to formulate a coherent picture of South Indian culture sequences during the Early Historical period. Reassessment of Wheeler’s and Casal’s material suggests that the date of the founding of Arikamedu should be pushed back to the middle of the third century B.C., while its first trade contacts with the Mediterranean world may have been established by the late second century B.C. The Arretine ware phase can now be dated more precisely to the first quarter of the first century A.C. (instead of the second quarter, as Wheeler had suggested)
amphorae occur in substantially earlier levels, and Rouletted Ware in earlier levels still. Although the Arikamedu Rouletted Ware was probably manufactured locally, the technique of “rouletting” must have been introduced from the West, probably sometime in the second century B.C. Since Arikamedu thus seems to have functioned as a maritime trading center long before the time of Augustus, a new perspective emerges upon the question of South Indian trade with the Mediterranean area.
Date Created: 4/2/2007
Volume: 87
Number: 4
Page Start: 461
Page End: 481