Stone anchors of India: Findings, classification and significance.
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Various types of stone anchors have been observed during inshore and offshore explorations along the east and west coasts of India. The earliest stone anchors of India have been recorded from the Harappan sites (3rd millennium BC), but their shape and size do not resemble the anchors found during maritime archaeological explorations since 1986. The stone anchors until now recovered from many sites of India can broadly be classified into four types: namely composite, Indo-Arabian, ring stone (mushroom) and single hole. Among all these types of anchors the Indo-Arabian are largest in number and were associated with the Arab traders who were also involved in the horse trade. Moreover, Indo-Arabian stone anchors have been found in a datable context as well reused as lintels, mooring bits, pavements, etc. Composite and single-hole stone anchors are the oldest ones. Composite stone anchors have been reported from Gujarat and Maharashtra coast; ring stone anchors from Gujarat and Goa coast and single hole and Indo-Arabian anchors from both east and west coasts of India. Evidences suggest that stone anchors were used in Indian waters from the 3rd millennium BC to the mid 20th century along with iron anchors which were introduced by the Europeans. Stone anchors resembling Indian have also been reported from the Persian Gulf, African countries, Sri Lanka and Maldives, which suggest maritime contacts and transfer of knowledge and technology. This paper details the finding of stone anchors, their role and significance in the maritime history of India
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