The Great Sphinx of Pattanam, Kerala?2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Pattanam is a 111-acre archaeological site in the Ernakulam district in Kerala. It has served as a digging site for almost 20 years. Excavations are a powerful way to understand the past through material history and culture.
Since March, the PAMA Institute for the Advancement of Transdisciplinary Archaeological Sciences has been digging trenches in Pattanam. In a recent excavation, researchers have unearthed a seal ring made of banded agate, a semi-precious stone, and engraved with a sphinx.
The sphinx is a mythical creature found in Greek legends who is part woman and part lion.
The sphinx stands for power and wisdom.
This was the reason that Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor, chose this symbol for his seal ring.
The ring shows connections between India of the Sangam Age and the Greco-Roman world (300 BCE-500 CE). Alongside the ring, researchers have also found a Greco-Roman head of a miniature statuette. This double discovery favours the idea of a connect.
In a press note released by the PAMA Institute, Guilia Rocco, a specialist on ancient Roman art at the University of Rome, said that the ring excavated at Pattanam is similar to the one worn by Augustus Caesar.
However, earlier discoveries point to the existence of a lapidary workshop in the area. Further probing will prove if the ring is an Indian copy of the Greek design or brought to Pattanam by travellers from the past.
Whether in thought or action, the Sphinx seems to have travelled a long way!