Tous les articles par Caroline Durand

Kolkata 2011 – Programme et liste des contributions

International conference The ports of the Indian Ocean, from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Bengal

Kolkata, 23rd-27th February 2011

organised by the MeDIan Project, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the Centre for Archaeological Studies and Training, Eastern India (CASTEI), and the French Embassy in India.

Download the complete program: Kolkata_program_19_02_11 (updated 19/02/2011).

Alphabetical list by authors (updated 19/02/2011)

Click on the title to see the abstract.

  • S. BADHREENATH (ASI, Chennai), Mamallapuram, the Port of the Pallavas.
  • P. J. CHERIAN (Kerala Council for Historical Research, Thiruvananthapuram), Evidence of Indian Ocean trade from the Malabar Coast.
  • D. COUTO (EPHE, Paris), The Archeological Project of Bassein’ Portuguese Settlement: a New Appraisal.
  • S. DISSANAYAKE (Director General of Archeology, Sri Lanka), Recent archaeological evidence on the maritime trade in the Indian Ocean: shipwreck at Godavaya.
  • C. HARDY-GUILBERT (CNRS, UMR 8167, Paris), Al-Shihr, Islamic harbour of Yemen on the Indian ocean (780-2007).
  • R. MUKHERJEE (Hyderabad University), Ports, Routes and Networks in the Bengal Delta.
  • N. PERERA (Deputy Director General, Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka), O. BOPEARACHCHI (CNRS, UMR 8546, Paris), New Evidence on International Trade in the Indian Ocean based on Recent Archaeological Excavations in Sri Lanka.
  • S. PRAMANIK (ASI, Delhi), Hathab: An Ancient Port of the Gulf of Khambhat.
  • A. ROUGEULLE, H. RENEL, E. VALLET (MeDIan Project, CNRS, UMR 8167, Paris), The ports in the Medieval Western Indian Ocean: a tentative typology.
  • J.-F. SALLES (MeDIan Project, CNRS, FR 538, Lyon), Towards a geography of the harbours of the Persian Gulf in Antiquity (6th cent. BC-6th cent. AD).
  • A. SAXENA (University of Baroda), Lesser Known Ports of Western Indian Ocean: Maritime Perspectives from Kachchi Coastline in Gujarat c. 1550-c.1850.
  • K. P. SHAJAN (Cochin University), Geo-archaeology of the Indo-Roman port site of Pattanam (Muziris) on the Malabar Coast, India.
  • R. TOMBER (Bristish Museum, London), Living in the Egyptian Ports: Daily Life at Berenike and Myos Hormos.
  • S. TRIPATI (National Institute of Oceanography, Goa), Maritime trade of the Eastern Indian littoral as evidenced from archaeological sources, tradition and monsoon winds.
  • E. VALLET (MeDIan Project, Université Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne), Indian harbours in the Yemeni Rasulid archives : new economical datas from the Late Middle Ages.
  • J.-B. YON (MeDIan Project, CNRS, Lyon), The harbour of Spasinou Charax.

Autour du Périple de la Mer Erythrée

Séminaire de recherche organisé dans le cadre de l’ANR MeDIan, avec le soutien de l’Université Lumière Lyon 2, de l’UMR 5189-HiSoMA, de la Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée et du Deutsches Archäologisches Institut.

Dates : lundi 13 et mardi 14 décembre 2010

Lieu : Lyon, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée Jean Pouilloux

Ce séminaire de recherche autour du Périple de la Mer Érythrée s’intéressera essentiellement au texte en tant qu’outil de «découverte» et/ou de connaissance de l’océan Indien pour les sociétés méditerranéennes de son époque de rédaction(Ier s. ap. J.-C.). Trois thèmes de réflexion sont proposés : en premier lieu, le texte du Périple en tant que source d’information ; en second lieu, les réseaux de navigation décrits par ce texte ; enfin, l’apport de l’archéologie aux données textuelles.

Accès libre dans la limite des places disponibles.

Responsables : Marie-Françoise Boussac, Caroline Durand, Jean-François Salles, Jean-Baptiste Yon

Pour tout renseignement, contact : ;

Programme (mis à jour le 09.12.2010)

Lundi 13 décembre

Matinée : amphithéâtre Benveniste

9h30       Accueil des participants.

10h30    Ouverture du séminaire par Jean-François Salles (CNRS, FR 538, MOM).

Session 1 – Le Périple de la Mer Érythrée comme source d’information

  • 11h         Didier Marcotte (Université de Reims), « Le Périple de la Mer Érythrée dans sa tradition textuelle ».
  • 11h30    Jehan Desanges (EPHE, Paris), « Le témoignage de Pline l’Ancien sur la navigation de mousson entre l’Arabie et l’Inde, et la datation de ses sources ».
  • 12h         Éric Vallet (Université Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne), « Le Périple au miroir des sources arabes médiévales ».

12h30-13h    Discussion

Après-midi : salle E233

  • 14h30    Federico De Romanis (Université de Rome), « The author of the Periplus Maris Erythraei and his readers: short, random remarks ».
  • 15h        Mikhail Bukharin (Académie des Sciences de Moscou), « Autour du Périple : l’Arabie côtière et la mer Érythrée dans les sources gréco-latines du Haut-Empire ».
  • 15h30    Veronica Bucciantini (DAI, Berlin), « The limits of knowledge: explorations and information about the Horn of Africa in the Greek-Roman tradition from the second century B.C. ».

16h-16h30    Pause

Session 2 – Les réseaux de navigation du Périple de la Mer Érythrée

  • 16h30    Claude Allibert (INALCO, Paris), « Réseaux de navigation, d’échanges commerciaux et de concurrence de la côte orientale d’Afrique à Madagascar du début de l’ère chrétienne à l’arrivée des Portugais ».
  • 17h         Pascal Arnaud (Université Lyon 2), « Le Périple de la Mer Érythrée : relation de voyage ou compilation érudite? ».

17h30-18h    Discussion

Mardi 14 décembre

Amphithéâtre Benveniste

Session 2 – Les réseaux de navigation du Périple de la Mer Érythrée (suite)

  • 9h30       Patrice Pomey (Centre d’Etudes Alexandrines), « A propos des navires et de la navigation en mer Érythrée : découvertes récentes et nouveaux aspects de la question ».
  • 10h         Caroline Durand (CNRS, FR 538, MOM), « Des réseaux maritimes aux voies caravanières : la face cachée du Périple« .

10h30-11h    Pause

  • 11h         Jérémie Schiettecatte (CNRS, UMR 8167, Orient & Méditerranée), « Mise en place et évolution du commerce maritime dans le sud de la mer Rouge (Ier s. av.-VIe s. ap. J.-C.) ».
  • 11h30    Jean-François Salles (CNRS, FR 538, MOM), « Le golfe Persique dans le Périple : connaissances virtuelles ou fondées ? »

12h-12h30    Discussion

Session 3 – Le Périple de la Mer Érythrée et l’archéologie

  • 14h        Steven E. Sidebotham (Delaware University), « Trade Goods, Languages and Religions: Indicators of Ethnicity at the Ptolemaic-Roman Red Sea Port of Berenike, Egypt ».
  • 14h30    Alexander V. Sedov (Académie des sciences, Moscou), « Maritime commerce in South Arabia before Periplus (archaeological evidence) ».

15h-15h30    Discussion

15h30-16h    Pause

16h00-17h00    Conclusion du séminaire par Jean-Baptiste Yon (CNRS, UMR 5189, MOM) et Marie-Françoise Boussac (Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre).

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract D. M. Rawat

Debarati Mitra RAWAT

Archaeological Survey of India

Piram Island – A Case Study

Gujarat by virtue of its unique geographical position and a coastline of 1600 km was one of the principle maritime regions of India since ancient times. It was the height of international trade and had many prominent ports.

The Gulf of Cambay (Khambhat) also known as “Stambhatirtha” was one of the principle port of Gujarat and was a highly flourishing place of power and importance in the ancient as well as medieval period. Just at the entry point of this Gulf of Khambat, between the coast , Hathab on the west and Bharygaza (Bharuch) on the east, there is a narrow stretch  of an island 6 km(in the NE-SE) direction called Piram  Island. It is in all likelihood the island of “Baiones” mentioned in the Greek sea guide of First Century AD, the Periplus Maris Erythraei.  Piram, also located 10 Km to the South East of Ghogha port is a reef of rock covered by blown sand. From the ancient time, the island has been considered as landmark point for the navigators in the Gulf of Cambay. Fortunately many archaeological remains scattered throughout the island speaks of an urbanized centre particularly with an industry site of rock from where stones have been extracted for the purpose of building architectural members. Many fossilised stone, animal and human sculptures are also seen scattered including architectural members. A Buddha head was reported during 1836 from the Island.  The sudden discovery of  Buddha heads, from coastal sites like Gogha and other  areas in Saurashtra , may not rule out the fact that during the Mauryan period these islands were under the influence of Buddhism, as we have ancient record of Dharma “prachar” in the coasts found in Asokan pillar edicts.

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract M. Nambirajan


Archaeological Survey of India

Thrissur, Kerala

Pattanam (Muziris?) Excavations – A Port Town on the Malabar Coast: a few observations

The Pattanam excavations 2007, ’08, ‘09 & ‘10 undertaken by KCHR in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India are important in the early history of South India and the East –West exchanges in the Indian Ocean rim. The excavations at Pattanam yielded a wide variety of archaeological evidence for maritime trade contacts. Until the discovery of the site, the role of the Malabar Coast in the Early Historic trade network was understood only on the basis of detailed references in the Sangam Literature, Periplus, works of Pliny (Natural History), Ptolemy (Geographia) etc. and a few Roman coin-hoards found in Kerala. While several Indo-Roman sites have been investigated on the East Coast, the researches done in Malabar Coast did not yield any significant results.

Pattanam is a small village located in Chittatukara Panchayat – Vadakkekkara village, lying between Kodungallur and North Paravur in the Periyar delta, about 25 km north of Ernakulam/Kochi. The Arabian Sea is about 4 km west of the site. Since 19th century onwards, the Muziris has been considered as located somewhere near Kodungallr or Cranganur. The scholars like Anujan Achchan, K.V.Raman etc. conducted investigations in the area. Shajan in 1998 located the Pattanam site, which is under excavation. Subsequently, the site was investigated by a group of researchers and a hypothesis, that it could be the location of ancient Muziris, was put forth. Since 2006 the site is being subjected to excavations.

An early phase of ‘urbanization’ is evident from the burnt bricks, clay floors, triple grooved roof tiles, storage jars, ring well and fine pottery. Mainly it is pottery that indicates foreign contacts. The wharf gives further clue to the maritime association of the site. Apart from these features, its urban and maritime characteristics are also significant and are discussed in this presentation.

The enormous amount of artifacts recovered from excavations, unique features of the site and the location significance in relation to the palaeo­ coastline and water bodies suggest that Pattanam could have been part of the ancient port of Muziris. Still there are certain questions which require convincing answers. More research and evidences are necessary to understand the context of this early historic settlement and before anything could be said of this site being Muziris.

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract I. Strauch


Institut für Kulturwissenschaften Ost- und Südasiens, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

The Indian inscriptions from the cave Hoq on Socotra – new evidence for Indian intercontinental trade contacts in the first centuries A.D.

In the year 2000 a group of Belgian speleologists discovered in one of the huge underground caves on the island Socotra hundreds of ancient inscriptions. A first investigation showed that most of them were written by Indian sailors who visited the island between 100 and 400 AD. Another expedition, carried out in 2005, yielded nearly 200 Indian texts written in Brāhmī script, supplemented by numerous South Arabian and Ethiopian graffiti and even few Greek inscriptions. Almost all of them are graffiti representing just the names of the visitors, in some cases, however, added by other types of information such as the profession or origin of the respective person.

Thus the Hoq corpus provides impressive evidence for the multicultural mixture of visitors who frequented the island in this period of Indian Ocean trade. Moreover, it supports the literary data provided by the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and introduces a completely new type of sources which was hitherto almost completely missing: personal inscriptions left by the Indian participants of the intercontinental trade networks which connected the Indian subcontinent with South Arabia and the Mediterranean world.

My paper will give a survey of the corpus of Hoq inscriptions and evaluate their position within the broader context of sources which are available for the Indian Ocean trade in the first centuries AD. It will summarize the results of my study of the Indian texts and discuss the geographical, historical, social and religious background of the Indian sailors who visited Socotra between 100 and 400 A.D.

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract Ch. Zazzaro, J. P. Cooper


University of Exeter

Recent archaeological investigations on Greater Farasan and in the southern Red Sea

In May 2010 a team of ethnographers and maritime archaeologists comprising Prof. Dionsius Agius, Dr. John Cooper, Dr. Chiara Zazzaro and Lucy Semaan of the MARES Project, University of Exeter, conducted a three-week preliminary survey on Greater Farasan, the main island of the Farasan archipelago, Saudi Arabia.

The island occupies a favourable navigational position for past seafaring in the Red Sea. Historically, the eastern coast of the Red Sea, outside the offshore reefs, was the recommended route for sailing north, as southern winds last longer than on the opposite shore. The island also has sheltered anchorages and ready accesses to the sea, close connections to the Arabian coast and an easy approach to the opposite African coast through the nearby Dahlak Islands. Furthermore, the abundant presence of underground water sources might have made for a useful stopover for ships in the past. These aspects, together with the development of pearling activities, determined the prosperity of the island over the centuries. The presence of numerous archaeological sites and abandoned villages demonstrates the island’s relatively high population density in the past, while the presence of richly decorated merchant houses and the Ottoman fort dating to the 20th century recall the historical strategic and economic role that the island played in the Red Sea.

Previous archaeological research on Greater Farasan is limited to unpublished surveys and visits, and to one test excavation conducted in the 1980s, while epigraphic studies have been reported more in detail. The large number of still-unexplored sites reveals a great potential for further research in the islands. During the MARES survey, sites with various functions and dating to various periods, some characterised by long occupation periods, were recorded. These include South Arabian, Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic settlements, early Christian cemeteries, South Arabian wells, a rock-cut cave, and a fortress. Among the surface finds were scattered architectural remains, inscriptions, potsherds and a large stone anchor.

This paper contextualises the results of the Farasan survey within wider investigations of the southern Red Sea, including the first-named author’s previous study of the Eritrean coast, and recent MARES surveys on the Red Sea coast of Yemen, and the coast of Djibouti. These have the potential to increase our understanding of processes of change over time among Red Sea coastal communities, as well as for investigating the maritime components of the region’s ancient societies.

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract H. J. Weisshaar, H. Schenk

Hans Joachim WEISSHAAR, Heidrun SCHENK

DAI, Berlin

The Citadel of Tissamaharama (Sri Lanka): the development of a city and the Indian Ocean trade.

The excavation at the Citadel of Tissamaharama is a joint project of the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka and the German Archaeological Institute.

During the „second urbanization“ in South Asia new settlers arrived in Sri Lanka and urban centers emerged. The Citadel of Tissamaharama, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Ruhuna, was built as a planned structure in the late 5th century BC by a new population that brought horses and iron technology.

Ruhuna had close connections to the Indian Subcontinent right from the beginning as illustrated by pottery (at first Plain Grey Ware and consequently followed by NBP, Rouletted Ware, Wheeler types 10 & 18), and semiprecious stones (carnelian). It was, however, not directly linked to the pre-Periplus trade and the maritime commercial activities of the first centuries AD. It benefitted from intermediate trade as indicated by Parthian pottery, Early Roman amphorae, and coins.

A direct trade can be seen after 300 AD when Roman coins, Sasanian and Islamic glazed wares and Mesopotamian Torpedo jars reached the island as is evidenced in Tissamaharama.

The maritime trade – either long distance or coastal – raised the economy in the south in early medieval times. There is an interesting contrast between the political centre of Anuradhapura in the Northeast of the island and the commercial centre of Ruhuna in the South.

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract Ch. Ward, Ch. Zazzaro

Cheryl WARD, Chiara ZAZZARO

Coastal Carolina University – University of Exeter

Boat related activities at the pharaonic harbour of Mersa Gawasis

The Boston University and the University of Napoli “L’Orientale” have been conducting archaeological investigations since 2001 at the pharaonic harbour of Mersa Gawasis, under the direction of Kathryn Bard and Rodolfo Fattovich. Excavations revealed evidence of seagoing return voyages from the land of Punt, in the southern Red Sea, a region from which Egyptian obtained exotic and luxury products.

Written documents testify that official pharaonic expeditions of the 12th Dynasty started in the Nile Valley, and boat parts were transported for 180 kilometres across the desert to a harbour facility on the Red Sea coast. Boat builders with different specializations probably were involved in the expeditions in order to reassemble the ships and equip them with rigging and anchors. At Mersa Gawasis the team documented the disassembly of ships after long sea voyages. Marine encrustations, discards, a huge volume of wood debris with tool marks and marine borer damage, and dozens of reworked ship timbers, associated with tools, testify to systematic cleaning, disassembling and modifying of ship components.

The site offers a unique opportunity in pharaonic Egypt and in the Red Sea for investigating phases of work and spatial organization of maritime activities. Different excavated areas revealed evidence of diversification of activities which may reflect differentiation of shipyard workers’ labour and skills. Within the same activity area, different phases of dismantling and modification of ship timber can be distinguished allowing the reconstruction of the work process.

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract E. Vagnon

Emmanuelle VAGNON

MeDIan Program, BNF, Paris

The Ports of Western India in the Latin Maps, 13th–15th cent.: Toponymy, Location and Evolution

Les ports de l’Inde occidentale dans les sources cartographiques latines des XIIIe-XVIe s. Toponymie, localisations et évolutions

Les recherches documentaires menées au Département des Cartes et Plans dans le cadre du projet MeDian ont pour objectif de rassembler les cartes qui témoignent des évolutions de la connaissance et de la représentation de l’Océan Indien. Une étude toponymique précise de ces cartes s’impose pour comprendre comment s’est transmis au monde méditerranéen, et à l’Europe occidentale, un savoir qui a évolué non de manière linéaire, mais par avancées et détours successifs. L’enjeu de l’étude de la toponymie des cartes est une réflexion sur les sources de ce savoir et une meilleure interprétation de la manière dont les cartes ont été conçues, et avec quels objectifs. Nous choisissons comme cas particulier de cette étude la côte occidentale de l’Inde.

Kolkata 2011 – Abstract A. Sundaresh, A. S. Gaur (2)


National Institute of Oceanography, Goa

Ancient port of Kaveripattinam: its existence and decline

Kaveripattinam, a flourishing port in the beginning of the Christian era played a major role in maritime activities and cultural expansion in the history of India. Texts of Sangam literature vividly describe about its location, habitation, town planning and prosperity. Kaveripattinam was also known as Poompuhar, located about 250 km south of Chennai on the bank of River Kaveri, Tamil Nadu coast. The marine archaeological explorations around Poompuhar brought to light the remains of terracotta ring wells, brick structures, storage jars in the inter tidal zone and brick structures, stone structures, pottery from offshore explorations strongly supports the existence of port town. Many such port towns that existed on the coastal region got vanished or submerged in the sea probably due to coastal erosion, sea level changes and neo-tectonic activity etc.

The paper deals with the archaeological findings around Poompuhar and the impact on coastal process in the shoreline change in the area, which was responsible for the submergence of ancient port town in the region. The data collected during underwater investigations at Poompuhar and the study of shore line changes are discussed to prove the causes of its submergence.

Keywords: Tamil Nadu, Kaveripattinam, Poompuhar, submergence, shoreline