Time and causes of submergence of ancient temple structures off Mahabalipuram, East Coast of India

Gaur, A S ; Sundaresh; Agnihotri, R ; Maurya, P ; Jayakumar, S ; Thorat, B R


As per traditional belief, some part of the ancient town of Mahabalipuram had been submerged just off the shore temple and this story has been recorded by the several British travelers during the 18th – 19th century. During the underwater exploration of Mahabalipuram area in 2017, three sites along with a large number of scattered dressed stones were found in the intertidal zone. Calcareous material grown over these stone structures after their submergence in seawater was subjected to radiocarbon (14C) dating to infer submergence time-periods of these structures. Submergence date for the site I is the late 14th century CE; whereas the submergence date from the site II comes ~ 1st century CE. According to the water-depths from where the studied structural remains were excavated, and obtained 14C dates of submergence, it could be surmised that these stone-structures off Mahabalipuram town were submerged in two phases. The submergence might have been induced by natural events such as coastal cyclone activity or Tsunami that flushed off sand around these structures and raised the sea-levels locally over the coast.


Coastal erosion, Cyclone/Tsunami, Marine growth, Radiocarbon dates, Sea level change, Submerged structures

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