The decline of an entrepot - Calicut

Posted by Maddy Labels: , ,

As water levels rose 1585-1700

Many years ago, I wrote about the sunken ruins of Calicut, as observed by Forbes and some others, and tried to discount the myth of a sunken city. But after Nikhil’s comment, the topic did not leave my mind and I continued to search for information, mainly because more than a couple of eyewitnesses had recorded seeing underwater structures. While change could have happened gradually, it is obvious that a cataclysmic event did not swallow large tracts of the Calicut shoreline. At that time, we checked out major events and found that there were some minor earthquakes and tsunamis, but nothing of great importance. Nevertheless, it is now clear that there was a gradual rise in the coastal water levels and that major structures went underwater, affecting not only the geography of one of the most active ports of medieval times, but also its allure and popularity, resulting in alarmed traders leaving the port city. There is no doubt that there were other overriding political and economic reasons as we discussed on previous occasions, but the infrastructure issues were also an underlying reason. Let’s take a look.

The many mysteries behind a Tamil Bell

Posted by Maddy Labels: , , ,

The Marakkar Bell in New Zealand

Around 1836 or perhaps closer to 1840, a missionary Rev Colenso in New Zealand saw and acquired a broken bronze bell while touring a Maori village in Whangarei - New Zealand. The relatively small bell was being used for cooking as Colenso put it. The bell itself was damaged, with its top portion intact, while the lower portion and clapper tongue had been lost, over time. Colenso was told that the bell had been found among the roots of a large tree brought down by a heavy gale. Its owners believed that the bell had been in the possession of their iwi (tribe) for several generations. Colenso then went on to swap the bell for an iron pot, more eminently suited for cooking. After his death, he bequeathed the bell to the Colonial Museum, now the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The bell produced a lot of interest when it was exhibited, and discussions and theories abounded about its origins.