Ancient India: Super Trade Center

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Historians talk a lot about the Silk Road, the ancient trade route to and from China to the Roman Empire. What you don't often hear about is trade from ancient India.

Archaeologists have found evidence that trade between Egypt, the Roman Empire, and ancient India was far more noticeable than previously thought. Digs at the ancient Egyptian town of Berenike have produced spices and gem fragments that prove that Indian goods routinely made their way to Egypt. In particular, archaeologists found more than 16 pounds of black peppercorns, a spice found at that time only in India.

Berenike is on the eastern side of Egypt and was at an ideal position to ship goods down the Red Sea and to Africa or Asia by sea or by land across Egypt to Alexandria, and from there to the rest of the Roman Empire.

Historians have long believed that such trade between the two ancient civilizations existed, based on writings they have found in ancient books. This most recent archaeological find goes a long way toward cementing India's reputation as a major trade center, right alongside China.

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David White