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Archaeologists found fresh evidence linking Azhagankulam in TN with ancient Rome trade

Jun 30, 2015 10:00 IST

Azhagankulam: Ancient trade centre located in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.

Azhagnakulam village in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu was in news on 29 June 2015 as archaeologists discovered fresh evidence that proves it had been an important trading post between the Sangam Pandyas and the Romans from circa 50 BCE to circa 500 CE.

Azhagankulam is located about three km from the sea, near the area where the Vaigai River enters the Bay of Bengal. Madurai was the capital of the Pandya country and Ramanathapuram came under the Madurai region.

As part of the excavations under way since May 2015, Archaeologists from the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology discovered broken Roman Amphora jars (used for storing wine), Mediterranean pottery, embossed Roman potsherds, copper coins, Chinese Celadon ware, rouletted ware, potsherds with Tamil Brahmi letters, a potsherd with a swastika symbol among others.

Earlier in 1986-87 and again for five seasons in the 1990s excavations were made at the place that revealed that  Azhagankulam was a part of the troika of trade centres between Rome and the Tamil country during the Tamil Sangam age. Other two were Arikkamedu (Puducherry) and Pattanam aka Muziris (Kerala).

As per historians, Azhagankulam, Arikkamedu and Korkai (Tamil Nadu) in the Tamiraparani basin on the east coast and Muziris on the west coast saw flourishing trade between the ancient Tamil country and the Romans for more than five centauries till circa 500 CE.

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