Latest Excavations Unearth Glimpses of Rich Tamil Culture in 6th Century BC

The archeological evidence unearthed show that those living during that period possessed good graffiti skills in Tamil, which they might have used for communication.

The archeological excavations being carried out at Keeladi and Thamiraibaranai in Tamil Nadu have given inputs to the archeologists and historians that there was a rich Tamil culture that thrived in 6th century BC in these parts of the world.

The archeological evidence unearthed show that those living during that period possessed good graffiti skills in Tamil, which they might have used for communication.

The presence of certain Roman materials and coins with Roman engravings as also some other materials similar to the Gangetic and Indus valley artifacts support the theory that the community that lived in these areas had entered into trade with people in North India as well as Western Europe.

The carbon dating report provided by the Miami-based Beta Analytic Testing Laboratory on August 27 has thrown up some startling findings about the Thamirabarani Civilisation that dates back to 3,200 years.

The Beta Analytic had done carbon dating analysis of rice with soil found in a burial urn at Sivakasi in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu.

Immediately after the resulte were obtained, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced in the Assembly that a ‘Pourunai Museum’ would be set up in Tirunelveli at a cost of Rs 15 crore.

The findings also emboldened the Chief Minister to state on the floor of the House that the task of the state government is to scientifically prove that the history of the Indian subcontinent must begin from the Tamil landscape.

The state government also announced the carrying out of excavations in other states and countries in search of Tamil roots and Tamil culture.

The Chief Minister announced that as a first step, research will be done with Kerala archeologists to establish the ancientness and culture of the Chera empire. The joint excavations are scheduled to be conducted at Pattanaam in Kerala, which was the ancient port of Muziris.

Stalin is keen that similar studies are undertaken at Vengi in Andhra Pradesh, Thalaikadu in Karnataka, and Palur in Odisha.

The state archeology department would also undertake joint studies and research at Quseir al-Quadim and Pernica Anekka in Egypt. These were part of the Roman Empire.

Stalin has also ordered to conduct excavation and research work at Khor Rori in Oman. These, according to the experts in Tamil archeological studies, is to establish that the state had trade relations with the Roman Empire as well as with Oman.

Interestingly, potsherds with Tamil scripts have been found in Egypt and Oman and the Tamil Nadu government wants to establish that there was a rich Tamil culture with proper scripts as well as highly sophisticated utensils with artworks and that the Tamil landscape had a major role in the civilization of the Indian subcontinent.

According to Tamil historical and naval studies, King Rajendra Chola had established supremacy in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, and the state government would conduct studies and research in these countries to find a Tamil connection.

Other than the Thamaraibarani Civilisation, the six-phase excavations in Keeladi or Keezhadi have also thrown up several information that a rich and vibrant culture was present in ancient time and Tamil was a supreme culture with rich knowledge of artifacts, literature and science.

The Chief Minister had said, “The Keezhadi excavations have proved that the Tamil society had achieved rich literacy even in 6th century BC, and Keezhadi had united Tamils across the world.”

The seventh phase of the excavations in Keezhadi commenced on February 13, 2021, when AIADMK leader E.K Palaniswami was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

It may be noted that during the sixth phase of excavations, the archeologists had found human skeletons, precious stones, weighing measures, and ring well structures. The materials obtained from the site have revealed that people who had lived in the region 3,200 years ago had advanced knowledge and skills.

Interestingly, the excavations and archeological evidence during the first six phases of Keezhadi excavations have shown that the Tamil culture can be traced back to 6th century BC, as against the earlier held view that it dates back to 5th century BC.

This shows that the second urbanisation that had taken place in the Gangetic valley did occur in Tamil Nadu in 6th century BC against the popular view that the second urbanisation had not taken place in the southern state.

Interestingly, the recovery of graffiti from several vessels found during the Keeladi excavations has given the impression that the civilisation that existed in these areas had the knowledge of script and had used this for communication.

The presence of skeletons of large animals like cow/ox and small animals like goats reveal that the society was predominantly agrarian.

Archeologists also deciphered that the presence of graffiti pointed at the high level of literacy that existed in this part of the world during the 6th century BC.

The six rounds of excavations that were conducted in Keeladi, the seventh is in progress, have so far yielded 5,820 antiquities with cultural traits in the form of structural activities, ornaments, popular ceramic ware utensils, graffiti shreds of both pre and post-firing nature.

This clearly indicates the cultural richness of the ancient civilisation of the Tamils of this region and proves beyond doubt that the people who lived in those days communicatied between themselves and used graffitis to express themselves.

With the state government announcing a museum at Thamaribarani, and the seventh round of excavations underway in Keeladi, the Tamil Nadu government is keen to establish the rich cultural heritage of the Tamils.


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