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The Lost City of Cambay

Anubha Charan reports on the latest findings from the Gulf of Cambay.

An innocuous piece of wood and a slew of other artefacts might just be set to push back Indian antiquity to 7500BC, if material picked up from the seabed of the Gulf of Cambay gets scientific verification. The findings follow the accidental unearthing of what may be a 40-metre deep ancient underwater settlement off the Western Coast of India, discovered by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) during a routine assessment of water pollution levels.

Acoustic imaging has revealed well-defined geometric formations, spread irregularly across a nine-kilometre stretch, resembling known characteristics of the Harappan civilisation of 2500BC, up till now, the earliest known civilisation of the subcontinent. One of the structures, the size of an Olympic swimming pool, has a series of sunken steps that look like the Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro. Another rectangular platform, 200m long and 45m wide, is as big as the Acropolis in Harappa.

Dredging has brought up over 2,000 objects from the site, which include hand-chiselled and polished stone tools, perforated stone pieces, ornaments and figurines, semi-precious stones, weathered potsherds, ivory, fossilised remains of a human vertebra, a jaw bone and a human tooth. The pottery pieces seem to belong to the early centuries of the Common Era, suggesting there was a settlement here that was engaged in the Roman trade. Carbon-dating of pieces of wood carried out by the Birbal Sahani Institute of Palaeobotony and the National Geophysical Research Institute revealed them to be from 5500 BC and 7500 BC respectively.

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