Maritime archaeology of Gujarat: Northwest coast of India
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Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage Proceedings. Eds. by: Staniforth, M.; Craig, J.; Jago-on, S.C.; Orillaneda, B.; Lacsina, L.(Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage; Manila; Philippines; 8-12 Nov 2011). Conf. Organizers; 2011; 155-168. Descriptors :archaeology; underwater exploration; historical account Abstract :The evidence of maritime activity in India may be traced back to the Bronze Age (early 3rd millennium BC to mid- 2nd millennium BC). The excavation of several Harappan sites including Lothal, Kuntasi, Padri, Nageshwar, Bagasra and many others have conclusively demonstrated an advance maritime culture during the third millennium Before Christ (BC). During the historical period several coastal towns had international trade and commerce including Bet Dwarka, Somnath, Hathab, Vallabhi, and Bharuch. Maritime activity reached it’s zenith in Gujarat during the Medieval period (8th to 14th century AD) when Arab traders dominated the Indian Ocean for over a millennia. Underwater investigations have been carried out at various places along the Saurashtra coast and a large number of stone anchors were found. The effect of tide when using jetties and anchoring points along various parts of the west coast India is also discussed. The archaeological evidence indicates that two gulfs along the Gujarat coast (Gulf Kachchh and Gulf of Khambhat) witnessed the hectic maritime activities in the past. Both gulfs have very high tidal ranges. The Gulf of Khambhat has the highest tidal range in India (11 meters). Ancient texts such as Vishnu Puran and Periplus of the Eruthreanean Sea vividly describe the tidal range and its uses in navigation. The discovery of the large number of stone anchors in the intertidal zone along the gulf region support the above references.
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