Kurush F. DALAL
103 Sunshine, Plot 58
Sector 21, Kharghar
Navi Mumbai 410210
The Excavations at Sanjan and their contribution towards understanding the archaeology of the Indian Ocean Littoral in the Early Medieval Period (8th c A.D. to 12th c A.D.)
Very little if anything was known of the Early Medieval period (8th c AD to the 12th c AD) on the western shores of India prior to the excavations at the site of Sanjan (N 20° 11’59. 6 E 72° 48’00. 2) (Taluka Umargam, District Valsad, Gujarat). Three seasons of excavations revealed a creek (inland) port, a large urban settlement with burnt brick houses, brick wells, deep terracotta ringwells, large quantities of local, West Asian and some Chinese ceramics, West Asian glass, terracotta, glass and stone beads, some local and others from the Levant and Asia Minor, besides artefacts in stone, silver, copper and iron. The coins from the excavations covered the entire gamut from the Rashtrakutas, the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad, the Sultans of Sind, Allauddin Khilji and the Marathas. The ceramics include Turquoise glazed ware, Sgraffito ware, Kashan lustre ware and other West Asian ceramics, and Yueh and Qingbai Chinese porcelains. These ceramics revealed the importance of the site and its participation in Indian Ocean littoral commerce between the Persian Gulf and China. This premise was further supported by the evidence of the various West Asian glass vessel fragments and the coins. The local importance of the site was obvious from its extent and the scatter of stone temple members and sculptures.
The evidence from Sanjan has opened a new chapter in the archaeology of the Western coast of India. After their identification at Sanjan, the various (dateable) ceramics and artefacts aided in the identification of various coeval sites. The excavations and the correlations of the data also brought to light the full extent of site network on the West coast of India. These sites include Kamrej (Dist. Surat, Gujarat), Chinchani (Dist. Thana, Maharashtra), Sopara (Dist. Thana, Maharashtra), Chaul (Dist. Raigad, Maharashtra), Chandor (Goa) and Pattanam (Kerala) thus opening a new chapter in the history and understanding of the archaeology of the Indian Ocean littoral.