Saturday, February 02, 2008


Explorations off Kerala coast

By K.A. Martin
February 02, 2008

Kochi: Underwater explorations to get a clearer picture of the maritime history of the Malabar coast have been launched at Kottappuram in Kerala’s Thrissur district under the aegis of the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), with technical assistance from the Southern Naval Command based in Kochi.

Launched as part of the Muziris Heritage Project, the exploration will focus on locations identified in terms of the presence of archaeological remains off the Kodungalloor coast by means of a survey, said P.J. Cherian, Director, KCHR.

The expedition, launched from near the Kottappuram market, harks back to the glories of Muziris, or Kodungalloor, which over the centuries yielded its commercial supremacy to Kochi.

Divers are expected to identify submerged remains of shipwrecks, ancient structures and so on. The study is expected to throw light on the geo-morphological changes in the region over the past 2,000 years, said Dr. Cherian.

The Archaeological Survey of India has licensed the KCHR to explore waterbodies within a 20 km radius of Kodungalloor in the Arabian Sea.

The naval hydrographers did a bottom profiling of the area using the side scan sonar method. The diving team is now to explore the identified spots by means of underwater photography.

The findingscould be important in understanding the sedimentation pattern over the centuries due to accretion. The next step would be to underwater excavation, said Dr. Cherian.

Dr. N. Athiaman of Tamil University, Thanjavur, Commander N. K. Reddy and Lt. Commander Sanjeev Sharma from the Southern Naval Command were present at the flagging off of the diving expedition by Rear Admiral H. S. Bhakta Vatsala. More than a hundred people from around Kottappuram, including Methala Panchayat President S. R. Vasantha Kumari, were present too.


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