Arikamedu was an ancient industrial port city located in the South Eastern coast of India near Pondicherry city. Known to Greco Roman world as Poduke, the city of Arikamedu lay along the eastern bank of River Ariyankuppam near the mouth where it empties to Bay of Bengal. The city was a manufacturing hub of textiles particularly of Muslin clothes, fine terracotta objects, jewelries from beads of precious and semi precious stones, glass and gold. The city had an extensive glass bead manufacturing facilities and is considered as “mother of all bead centers” in the world. Most of their productions were aimed for export.
During its peak period, 100 BC to 100 AD, the city enjoyed extensive trade relations with Imperial Rome. The city was connected with several other cities in rest of India both by road and river. The raw material and finished goods were brought to Arikamedu for manufacturing and export. The harbor of Arikamedu used to receive ships from other ancient port cities such as Muziris and Anuradhapura for transshipment of goods to countries in South East Asia such as Indonesia, Thailand, China and rest of north Eastern part of India. The city of Arikamedu has a unique claim of having a cultural continuity from 300 BC to 1800AD. Excepting a brief period, the urban settlement in Arikamedu was unbroken from Megalithic period to mediaeval periods to modern period. Though most of the excavated trenches have been refilled after the last excavation, ruins of an 18th century French Mission house in the archeological site stands testimony to this grand history of Arikamedu. The city of Arikamedu is widely considered as the referral point in south Indian ancient history. The archeological site was acquired in 2004 by Archeological survey of India. The city of Poduke was mentioned along with Poompuhar (Kaveripoom Pattinam) and Muziris in the Periplus Erythraean Sea, a navigational guide written by an anonymous Greek writer in 50 AD. According to the author the city was a major trading station for goods to Greco Roman world. Some time between 1768-71, a French astronomer named Guillume Le Gentil visited Pondicherry on the south-eastern coast (known as the Coromandel coast) of India. He noticed some huge bricks, ruined walls and remains of old wells at a place called Arikamedu, just 4 km away from Pondicherry. Arikamedu was located on the right bank of the river Ariyankuppam, just as the river enters the Bay of Bengal. Le Gentil was convinced that these were the ruins of a large, ancient village or even a town. He was right, but it was a very long time before archaeologists realized the importance of this site. IT WAS SHRI AIYYAPPAN VC KERALA UNIVERSITY , STARTED THE EXCAVATIONS , NOT CREDITED BY MORTIMER (claimed by most as the person who excavated Arikamedu ! EXPORTS FROM ARIKAMEDU
1. Textiles 2. Beads of semi precious stones, glass, plant and Gems 3. Bangles from shell 4. Spices
IMPORTS TO ARIKAMEDU 1. Mediterranean Wines in Amphora Jars 2. Cups and Plates of Terra Sigillata (Sigallata: Impressed with seal. Pottery decorations with impressed marks 3. Ceramic Lamps 4. Unguentaria ( Vessel for holding perfumed oil or unguen) 5. Blue glazed Faience ( Tin glazed or decorated earthen ware or pottery originally made in Faenza in Italy) 6. Glass Bowls 7. Gems 8. Olive Oil 9. Olive products 10. Garum Sauce in Spanish Jars.( Credits Ancient Tamil Civilization , Suresh Pillai , The Hindu )