Indian Catholic News

New proof for pre-Portuguese mission in Kollam

Cherian said Kollam was the de facto international capital for spice trade, especially pepper, cardamom and ginger, for long.

 
Kollam: 

Archaeologists have recovered large volumes of Chinese coins, ceramic pottery and potsherds from the seabed off Kollam, in Kerala cementing proof of pre-Portuguese Christianity in the area.

The recovery provides another proof for Kerala's rich trade and cultural links with ancient China. They have also given credence to the theory that Kollam was a flourishing port centuries ago and missioners to China visited the area.

Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) director P J Cherian said they recovered the artefacts from the ancient port of Kollam in a salvage operation conducted on Sunday.

"It was a dream come true for our members. We could collect around 290 Chinese coins and local pottery that are over hundred years old,'' he said. The salvage operation was undertaken in the wake of reports that some artefacts were taken away by workers while dredging for new sea channels.

"We got reports that kilograms of coins were sold to antique collectors in Tamil Nadu,'' he said.

Cherian said Kollam was the de facto international capital for spice trade, especially pepper, cardamom and ginger, for long.

Archaeologist Sunil Edward said Kollam, once called Desinganadu, had a commercial reputation from the days of Phoenicians and Romans.

"The port was virtually the gateway to the Indian sub-continent for the rest of the world. All that is a 2,500-year-old history or even more,'' he said.

He said John of Montecorvino, a Catholic missionary who later became the first Archbishop of Peking in China, had in the 13th century visited Kollam en route to China and recorded that he found Chinese, Christian, Jewish and Muslim traders in Kollam.

"A church built in 825 AD - also known as Teresa palli - and another one built by Jourdanos Katthalani in the 13th century - known as St George Church - and a mosque known as valiya palli were all buried underwater,'' he said, adding that some fishermen had reported seeing the remnants of these churches in the seabed.

Source: Times of India

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