New Delhi: Aiming to research and preserve maritime cultural heritage, the Archaeological Survey of India and navy have joined hands for expeditions at deep sea and ancient port sites to reconstruct the history of ancient civilizations.
The marine archaeological expeditions have been carried out in waters off Dwarka (Gujarat), Goa, Lakshadeep Islands, Poompuhar and Mahabalipuram and onshore and near-shore explorations have been carried out at ancient port sites such as Chilka, Kalingapatnam, Machilipatnam and Rameswaram coast.
“Though marine archaeology in India is still in its infancy as compared to the West, I believe that our limited knowledge and lack of facilities should not make us turn a blind eye to the wealth of scientific, cultural, historic and traditional data that has hitherto remained unexplored,” Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said.
While land archaeology demands multi-disciplinary approaches in interpreting the material unearthed, underwater archaeology requires multi-lateral collaboration first for the excavations to be carried out and then for analyzing the finds.
The search and study of underwater cultural heritage is a relatively new initiative in India. The underwater archaeology wing in the ASI was set up in recognition of the fact that maritime archaeology is essential for reconstructing the history of ancient civilizations, especially coastal societies.