Surveying the Ancient Indo-Roman seaport Muziris in Kerala

 Surveying the Ancient Indo-Roman seaport Muziris in Kerala

A few years ago, I was sent to the small village of Pattanam in India by Kerala’s backwaters to run a  magnetometry survey. This site is believed to be the ancient seaport Muziris, a thriving port - city involved in the trade network between Rome and India.


A magnetometer is a device that can detect concentrations of iron deposits on land and on the seabed. It was used to identify sub-surface features such as brick walls, hearths, kilns and dumps to map the ancient maritime landscape of this Roman site. The presence of iron is often indicative of past human activity. Our search for archaeology left behind by this activity also took me on a month of jungle trekking and Hindu festivals!

While surveying, I was suddenly caught under a heavy monsoon rainfall. In my struggle to seek shelter and keep the magnetometer dry, out of nowhere, I was rescued by an Indian lady who, though a stranger, took me to her small bungalow hidden within the forest... her and her friends greeted me with chai!

~ Carmen

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