Roman Antiquities at Banavasi

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Banavasiyalli doretha roman avasheshagalu – Roman Antiquities at Banavasi

Author:  Dr. H. R. Raghunatha Bhat

Place: Banavasi, Sirasi, Akki Alur, Hulekal, Vadagaon,Madhavpur, Belgaum

The excavations at Banavasi in 1970-1971 unearthed russet-coated kaolin painted pottery and pieces of rouletted pottery, patterned on Roman pottery. The discovery of these in a Shatavahana site was very useful in understanding the trade links of that period.

A mould to produce coins (pendants) in imitation of Roman ones was unearthed in 1975-76 by M. C. Wodeyar. The mould was used for producing Roman dinars locally, for people to have necklaces of the dinars. This could be possible only when local people knew and liked Roman gold coins. To substantiate this fact, not far away from Banavasi, at Akki Alur, Roman coins dating from 2 century to 6 century have been found. At nearby Hulekal in Sirsi taluk and also at Vadgaon-Madhavpur in the neighbouring Belgaum,  Roman coins including dinars have been unearthed.  Inside Banavasi fort, the remains of a Roman ‘Cameo’ was found. It is a small semi-precious stone with two layers in oval shape similar to ones issued by Emperor Augustus in chalcedony. The Banavasi Cameo has the figure of a Roman royal in profile, wearing a Roman galea, and decorated chest band. The art work is highly realistic and artistic. Thus the author opines that Banavasi had close ties with Rome and more research/excavations in the area might reveal further evidences to support this fact.

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