<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) will carry out a marine archaeological exploration in Goa’s Gopalapatnam area, after a team found traces of a 2,000-year-old wall there in 2015, hinting at the existence of an ancient port and a maritime trade route. The exploration, which will be carried out in the next two years, was approved by the Standing Committee of the Archeological Survey of India in September this year.In 2015, the NIO found a 2.5-km-long wall along the northern bank of the Zuari river. The team conducted a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey and found that the wall leads to steps that were leading into the sea, and that a ‘rajvithi’, an ancient path used by the king, was leading towards Old Goa. The findings led to speculation that the structure could belong to the Kadamba Dynasty.In the proposal, the NIO has stated that the project will “establish the status of maritime activities”.It explains that it will do so “through mapping of surface structures of archaeological importance on a detailed scale and mapping subsurface extension of the structure”. Work on the site was stopped and no systematic excavation was done due to the paucity of funds from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, states the proposal.However, Rakesh Nigam, who recently retired as the head of marine archaeology at the NIO, and was part of the 2015 explorations, says that the findings could push back the dates further than the Kadamba Dynasty. He said that the laterite stones that the wall was made of also pointed to an earlier date.”From the initial exploration that we have conducted, there is evidence of a grand structure below the sea and we are expecting a port. We will carry out dating tests, do a GPR survey and even an off-shore survey to see if the river changed tracks, and what relation does it have with the rise and fall of the sea level,” said Nigam.He said that there is also the idea that the structure could have been an Israeli one, and that since it lay on the trade route, the Israelis built a structure to keep an eye on the movement of the goods that passed by the port. “The Israeli authorities have been quite keen on the exploration and they have been in constant touch with us,” said Nigam.

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Hunt for 2000-yr-old port off Goa