- Ring wells
Arikamedu was in modern day Pondicherry. About 2200 to 1900 years ago, it was a coastal settlement. Ships from distant lands came and were unloaded at this centre.
A massive brick structure had been found on this site. Historians guess that it was a warehouse.
Pottery from the Mediterranean region had been found from this site, e.g. amphorae and stamped red-glazed pottery. (called Arrentine Ware). Amphora is double handled jar for keeping liquids; like wine and oil. Red-glazed pottery is called Arrentine Ware. It got its name after an Italian village named Arezzo; which is now a city. Many local made potteries have also been found from this site. But the local potteries also contain Roman designs. Roman glassware, lamps and gems have also been found from this site.
The potteries from Arikamedu show that there was big influence from the Mediterranean; especially from Rome.
Small tanks have also been found. They were probably used as dyeing vats; for dyeing cloths.
Other Proofs of the Life in Those Times
Many sculptures from this period depict scenes from the day to day life. These sculptures were used for decorating pillars, railings and gateways. These sculptures show various occupations during this period.
During excavation in many cities, rows of pots or ceramic rings have been found. The ceramic rings were arranged one over another. Such structures are known as ring wells. Historians believe that they were used as toilets or as drains. They were usually present in individual houses.
Very few remains of palaces and homes have been found. There could be two reasons for this. One of the reasons can be that historians have yet to find those remains. Another reason is that most of the structures were made of wood and mud bricks and hence they may not have survived the vagaries of time.
Historians have also found many proofs from accounts of travelers and sailors. For example; a Greek sailor had mentioned interesting account about Bharuch. Bharuch is in modern day Gujarat. Its Greek name was Barygaza. According to that sailor, the gulf at Bharuch was very narrow. It was difficult to navigate through the gulf at Bharuch. Only locally trained fishermen were able to steer a ship to the shore. Such fishermen were employed by the king.
Bharuch was an important point for imports and exports. The main items of imports included; wine, copper, tin, lead, coral, topaz, cloth, gold and silver coins. The main items of exports included; plants from the Himalayas, ivory, agate, carnelian, cotton, silk and perfumes. The merchants also brought special gifts for the king; such as vessels of silver, singing boys, beautiful women, fine wines and fine cloth.
Coins were often used as a means of exchange. Punch marked coins were in use at that time. Some form of barter system was also in practice. Salt was an important tool of barter.