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from daijiworld's special correspondent (MB)

Panaji, Mar 30: Scientists from Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) have found stunning artefacts off the Gujarat coast, near Dwarka island, which development focuses on Indian civilization's ties with Roman civilization more than two thousand years back.

"During the excavation, we found artefacts which are dating three thousand five hundred years back which indicates that India's maritime history is much-much older and Indians used to travel by sea even before Vasco da Gama touched Indian shores," Dr K H Vora, deputy director and project leader, marine archaeology, stated.

"Archaeological excavations at Bet (island) Dwarka which is westernmost part of India revealed an interesting cultural sequence commencing from pre-historic period (3800 years BC) to historical period (1600 BC)," Vora said.

NIO scientists, during their study on shoreline changes during last 2000 years on the Saurashtra Coast of India, off the Gulf of Kucch, have encountered large number of stone anchors dated two thousand years back. "That means, the stone anchors were used even before iron anchor came in use by the ships which were anchored off the Gujarat coast," Vohra stated.

The excavation around dwarka and island dwarka, both located 30 kms away from each other, by NIO, is going on since 1982 when then scientist Dr S K Rao, took up the cudgels. The work took momentum in 2001-2002 when six trenches were dug at island dwarka to unravel mysteries around this sealocked land mass, which is mythologically considered as summer palace of Lord Krishna.

"Interestingly, we came across amphorae shreds of Mediterranean origin. This indicated that Indian and Roman civilizations had ties with each other through sea route," Vora stated.

NIO's marine archaeology wing which is continuosly exploring coasts of Somnath, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and Goa besides Dwarka find this as a milestone in the marine history.

"What is interesting is that we found few artefacts just 65 to 80 cms below the sea level," A S Gaur, an archeologist associated with the mission stated. 


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