Some 1,500 years ago the ancient coastal Chola city of Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu, India was swallowed by water.
The capital of the Chola rulers, a Tamil dynasty with a recorded history going back to the second century B.C., was a place where silk merchants and grain traders set sail for the Far East, Greece and Egypt, archaeologists say.
But the ancient city now lies under water about three kilometers (two miles) offshore. All that remains are a few temples and the modern town, which consists of about 2,000 fishing families.
Undersea excavations and studies by historians show that Poompuhar grew into a big town during the reign of Karikal Cholan, the second-century Chola king who established trade ties with China, Arabia and the Roman Empire.
The Boxing day tsunami has historians and archaeologists calling for new research into the coastal civilizations of ancient India, and the possible affect of earlier tsunamis