Arikamedu is an archaeological site in Southern India, in Kakkayanthope, Ariyankuppam Commune, Puducherry. It is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the capital, Pondicherry of the Indian territory of Puducherry.
Sir Mortimer Wheeler 1945, and Jean-Marie Casal conducted achaeological excavations there in 1947–1950. The site was identified as the port of Podouke, known as an “emporium” in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and Ptolemy. Digs have found Amphorae, Arretine ware, Roman lamps, glassware, glass and stone beads, and gems at the site. Based on these excavations, Wheeler concluded that the Arikamedu was a Greek (Yavana) trading post that traded with Rome, starting during the reign of Augustus Caesar, and lasted about two hundred years—from the late first century BCE to the first and second centuries CE. Subsequent investigation by Vimala Begley from 1989 to 1992 modified this assessment, and now place the period of occupation from the 2nd century BCE to the 8th century CE.
Arikamedu is a coastal fishing village, under the Ariankuppam Panchayat, on the southeastern coast of India, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Pondicherry, on the Pondicherry-Cuddalore road; it was originally a French colonial town. It is located on the bank of the Ariyankuppam River (for most part of the year the river is considered a lagoon), also known as Virampattinam River, which forms the northern outlet of the Gingee River as it joins the Bay of Bengal.
The first mention about Arikamedu was in 1734, in a communication from the Consul of the Indo-French colony of Pondicherry. It informed the French East India Company that villagers were extracting old bricks from the Virampattinam. The earliest mention of the Arikamedu archaeological site was by Le Gentil of France, who the King of France had assigned to observe notable astronomical occurrences in the world. Gentil, after visiting Arikamedu, confirmed the earlier report of the Consul of the Indo-French colony.
In 1937, Jouveau Dubreuil, an Indologist, also from France, purchased gem stone antiquities from local children, and also gathered some exposed on the site’s surface. In particular, he found an intaglio carved with the picture of a man.
An international conference that the Government of Pondicherry and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs held in October 2004 decided to investigate the Arikamedu site jointly for conservation, as its ancient commercial link with the Romans has been established. During this conference, the Government of Pondicherry also decided to propose the site for status as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The Archaeological Survey of India also proposed the site for UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site status, under the title Silk Road Sites in India.