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Seeds in a 1,500-year-old commercial port in Sri Lanka show that traders from all over the world, including the Roman Empire, came here.
Grape seeds found in ancient Sri Lanka may have been imported by Roman merchants. A: IStock
Today when we visit Mantai, which is intertwined with a bay in Northwest Sri Lanka, you will not see anything other than the lonely Hindu temple overlooking the sea. But 1500 years ago Mantai; It was a moving port in which merchants traded the most valuable goods of the period. Now, the examination of ancient plant remains has revealed that traders from all corners of the world, including the Roman Empire, may have visited or lived here. Mantai was a center in the old trade networks that cut the Indian Ocean and connects the far corners of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. At that time the harbor town developed between 200 BC and 850 AD. During this time, Indonesian cloves and Indian peppers created a bond for the spice trade that brought them into Middle Eastern and Roman cuisines.

However, for a site that is quite important in the ancient world; It was hard for archaeologists to work in Mantai. After the excavations in the early 1980s, investigations were stopped in 1984 due to the Sri Lankan Civil War. In Mantai was firmly in the red zone, ta says Robin Coningham, an archaeologist who studied Southern Asia at Durham University. However, after the conflict ended in 2009, a team led by the Sri Lankan Department of Archeology returned to continue the excavations. The archaeobotanist Eleanor Kingwell-Banham joined the research team to study the plant remains sifted from the excavated soil here. Eleanor found abundant rice grains grown locally, as well as carnations based on the more exotic, charred blackened pepper based on MS 600-700 and MS 900-1100. According to the team, these discoveries were exceptionally rare because old people were very careful with their spices. Kingwell-Banham said, m Because spices were very valuable to them, people in the past were very careful not to lose or burn them. These things were worth more than gold. Bu In particular, the carnation should have traveled from the Maluku Islands of Indonesia where it grew up, about 7,000 kilometers away. The team also found remains that could connect the port city to the ancient Mediterranean world: processed wheat grains from 100 to 200 and grape seeds dating from 650 to 800 AD. In Sri Lanka's wet and tropical climate, neither of these crops could grow. Therefore, they probably had to be imported from Arabia or the Roman world. Kingwell-Banham says his team is studying chemical isotopes absorbed by plants to determine where they are grown. However, regardless of their exact origin, the coexistence of rice and wheat is the proof of the bulun cosmopolitan cuisine alar of Mantai, where both local and foreign foods are eaten. Coningham, Mantai'ta wheat and grapes, completely new and moved from South Asia to the Roman world of goods and goods in the other direction that draws attention. Did Roman merchants living in Mantai import and cook their country's food? Incel This is certainly a possibility, Matth says Matthew Cobb, a historian who studied the ancient Indian Ocean trading networks. Source: poxox archeology

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