The Periplus of the Erythræan Sea, a 1st century book about a sea journey from the Red Sea to India talks about a the Gulf of Baraca, which contains seven islands and where the sea is violent. The unknown author then writes that from that point it is the begining of the Kingdom of Nambanus and all of India.
An article in The Hindu mentions that some scholars think Baraca refers to Dwaraka while Wilfred H. Schoff who translated Periplus from Greek thinks Gulf of Baraca is the modern Gulf of Kutch and the claim that it comes from Dwaraka is suspect. Schoff is of the opinion that Baraca is the same as Bahlika, associated with Saurashtra in Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa and the Vishnu Purana, while A.S.Gaur of the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa who has been conducting exvations writes that Baraca is Dwaraka.
While there is confusion regarding if Baraca is Dwaraka or not what we know for sure is that Gujarat had a maritime history dating back to the mid-3rd millennium BC with Mesopotamian texts mentioning that boats used to be harbored there. Archaeological excavations have discovered a jetty at Kuntasi and stone anchors at Lothal dating to the Harappan period
Recently, the ASI has been conducting extensive archaeological work in the Dwaraka area, both on land and under water and it has revealed fascinating information about life in that region from the Late Harappan Period (1900 – 1300 BCE).
Previous under water excavations revealed about 120 anchors. These anchors often had three holes of which the upper one was used for tying a rope and the other two holes for holding wooden flukes. The Underwater Archaeology Wing recently found what they call fragments of ancient structures. It is not known of it is part of a wall or temple and so it is classified as part of some structure. One of the structures consists of stone blocks with holes to fit wood and the age of that is unknown.
This excavation also fetched 30 copper coins which are suspected to be atleast a thousand years old. Previous excavations have recovered two coins of the Kushana period (1st – 2nd century AD) and a potsherd with graffiti mark, which is the Brahmi letter ‘A’ dating to 3rd century AD.
Radiocarbon dating in Bet Dwaraka have found that the oldest habitation dates back to the late phase of Harappan Civilization. A mjaor enterprise of that era was the shell industry. Even though evidence of exploitation of salt and fish has also been found, shell industry was bigger than both ivory and bone as well.
Somehow the UPA Government which pulled of funding for the Saraswati Project has not scuttled these excavations yet, but it is a matter of time before Ambika Soni makes a connection between Krishna, Dwaraka and Hinduism and pulls the plug.
See Also: Dwaraka Update (1)