In the first century BC it was one of India’s most important trading ports, whose exports – especially black pepper – kept even mighty Rome in d
But have archaeologists really found the site of Muziris, and why did it drop off the map?
The Roman author Pliny, in his Natural History, called Muziris “the first emporium of India”. The city appears prominently on the Tabula Peutingeriana, a fifth-century map of the world as seen from Rome. But from thereon, the story of this great Indian port becomes hazy. As reports of its location grow more sporadic, it literally drops off the map.
In modern-day India, Muziris was much more of a legend than a real city – until archaeological excavations in the southern state of Kerala, starting in 2004, sparked reports of a mysterious lost port. Though the archaeologists cannot be certain, they – and, with some exceptions, historians too – now believe they have located the site of Muziris.