Guilaume Le Gentil

The earliest reference to the ruins of Arikamedu is found in the travel records of a French astronomer Guilaume Le Gentil , who visited Pondicherry in 1768-71 and records that along the high bank of Ariyakuppam river, digging had revealed some foot high walls built with large size bricks , which were one foot long and seven to eight “thumbs” large and were put together by mortar . He also mentioned seeing vestiges of wells exposed along the high river bank , which according to him were originally at least 20 feet deep and four feet wide made from a series of earthenware vessels placed above each other.


Jouveau- Dubreuil

The historical importance of the site and its connection with the Roman empire were first recognized by Jouveau- Dubreuil , who had started collecting finds from the surface of the mound and the river bank as early as 1937. Jouveau- Dubreuil identified the site with the Poduke emporium mentioned in the Periplus Maris Erythraei ( PME). The name Poduke meaning new village ( Pudusseri) must have been in use at the time of Periplus .


Krishnaswamy Gowdar

Krishnaswamy Gowdar ( Kichanassamy Cavoudar) owner of a plot of land along the northern river front , dug an area of 60x 30 meter to a depth of 0.80 m for the purpose of

Planting coconut trees . From the debris , several artifacts were collected including fragments of Mediterranean shipping amphora, which were brought to the attention of Jouveau- Dubreuil.


A. Ayyappan , Government Museum, Madras was invited to undertake archeological investigations at this site , a brief reprt of which was published by him in an article “ A Dakshina Taxila , historic Ruins from Arikamedu ( The Hindu March 23 1941).


Small excavations undertaken by French scholars under the direction of L.Faucheux and K.Sarleau ( Les Recherches Archeologigues 1942: 180-188 , 1943 : 77-97).


French Government declared Arikamedu as Archeological site

The colonial French government declared part of the site as Archeological monument. The reports on the findings by French archeologists were published in yearly administrative reports 1945-46.


Sir Mortimer Wheeler

The most outstanding excavations were conducted by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, during a short season in summer 1945. He as the director of the Archeological survey of India and had the advantage of extensive resources at hand to use.

Wheeler’s excavations are the most publicized ones both in India and west. “ROME BEYOND THE IMPERIAL FRONTIERS”, was the most significant and famous paper published by wheeler on Arikamedu.

An important contribution of Wheeler’s work at Arikamedu was the preparation of a contour map of the site and the surrounding area, which was published with the excavation report.



J.M.CASAL excavated fairly extensive area more than any other archeologist. During his three ( 3) excavation seasons extremely reliable data were obtained , but selectively published by hum in his two publications on his work in the Pondicherry area ( Casal 1949, Casal 1956) Casal’s works went unnoticed largely by wheeler and Indian Archeologists .

1952- 1980

-A brief article on the dating of the Terra Sigillata was published by L.Ohlenroth ( 1952)

- Studies of the Brahmi and Tamil inscriptions and pottery shreads by M.J.Filliozat

- I.Mahadevan ( 1973-1966)

- A brief article on glass rods by B.B.Lal ( 1958)

- Archeological studies of Five bricks from the site by K. Ramassamy , R.Balasubramaniam and G. Chandrashekhar ( 1976-80)


Peter Francis Jr. studies on beads


John Guwlnnet & Leonard Gorrelick

1986, 1987,1988

E.Marianne Sterns on Roman Glass

1983, 1986, 1988, 1989

Vimala Bagley & Team