Gupta, Sunil, Williams, David and Peacock, David
Dressel 2-4 Amphorae and Roman Trade with India: the Evidence from Nevasa
South Asian Studies, 17, (1), .
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This paper examines in detail an assemblage of Roman amphorae sherds recovered from the important Indian site of Nevasa, from the point of view of origin, chronology and implications of trade between the Mediterranean and India. Roman amphorae are crucial, for they provide direct evidence for the movement of agricultural produce of great economic significance, principaly wine, olive oil and various fish products. A detailed study of amphorae can therefore provide vital evidence of the export and import of important foodstuffs not readily available from other sources. It seems likely that all but one of the 63 amphora sherds found at Nevasa belong to the late Republican/early Imperial Dressel 2-4 form, which normally carried wine. Moreover petrological analysis suggests that these vessels are almost certainly Italian in origin and can most likely be dated to between the period 20/25 BC and AD79. The trade in Italian wine to India is mentioned in the Periplus Maris Erythraei, a first century AD shipping guide to the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. The amphora finds from Nevasa, and other Indian sites, provides archaeological evidence of this trade and, in addition, clearly indicates that the main thrust of the Mediterranean wine trade to India was in Italian wines. Finally, the Mediterranean chronology of the amphorae are related to the stratigraphical sequence of Nevasa and the possibility is discussed of local industries being connected with the exchange commodities of the Indo-Mediterranean trade.
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