Newspaper report: Ancient sea link discovered by ASI

George Hart glhart at BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Feb 15 19:17:09 UTC 2006

For more on this, including some wonderful pictures, see


Tamil Brahmi writing should be recognizable as such -- since it is  
somewhat different from the Indo-Aryan variants.

Another article says

The centrepiece contained Tamil writing in very rudimentary Tamil  
Brahmi, engraved inside an urn. Epigraphists have tentatively read  
the writing as "ka ri a ra va [na] ta."


I don't know what that would mean (in Tamil or Prakrit), but it would  
certainly not be surprising to find an inscription in old Tamil  
Brahmi dating from about 200 BCE.

George Hart

On Feb 15, 2006, at 10:12 AM, Ashok Aklujkar wrote:

> Some list members may find the following news item useful,  
> particularly
> because of its mention of iron and a Brahmi Tamil inscription  
> ("Brahmin" in
> the news item seems to be a typo for Brahmi; it is not clear to me  
> how the
> inscription was determined to be Tamil and incomplete if it is not yet
> decoded; perhaps "decoded" is to be understood as 'not fully  
> deciphered')
> ashok aklujkar.
> From The Statesman, Monday, !3 Feb 06
> Ancient sea link discovered by ASI
> Press Trust of India
>  CHANDIGARH, Feb. 12. — Unraveling some facts buried in history,  
> experts
> from Archaeological Survey of India said the possibility of a sea link
> between south India and the rest of Asia about 3,800 years ago  
> could not be
> ruled out.
>  Mr Arun Malik, an archaeologist with ASI, Chennai, while throwing  
> light on
> Adichannallur civilisation, said here that the observation of human
> morphological types based on the cranial evidences point to the  
> existence of
> more than one racial and ethnic group in that region during the  
> period of
> the civilisation’s long geo-historic period. “Occurrences of  
> intermediate
> and pure traits of yellow race of South–east and Far-east Asia and  
> typical
> ethnic and tribal Indians on the external morphology of the skulls  
> and bones
> give credence to the fact that a sea trade may have been there,”  
> said Mr P
> Raghavan, a bio-anthropologist currently assisting ASI, Chennai, in  
> studying
> geo-morphological aspects.
>  Mr Malik said the latest excavations at the Adichanallur’s pre- 
> historic
> site along the coast of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu have yielded more  
> than 160
> urns, many of which contained hundreds of different-sized  
> potteries. Husk,
> paddy and other cereals have also been found in the urns.
>  He said the people of Adichanallur were agrarian in nature who also
> mastered blacksmithery and made a variety of iron implements.
>  “The engraved drawings on the clay urns narrate the decoded  
> ecological,
> environmental and cultural significance. For example, a fascinating  
> art
> showing a tall dancing female with a large-sized reptile, probably a
> crocodile, and a member of a deer group explain the pre-historic  
> faunal and
> floral wealth. An incomplete ancient Brahmin Tamil script engraved  
> on inner
> surface of urn is yet to be decoded,” said Mr Malik. On the  
> practice of
> burying their dead, Mr Malik said most of the burials were in  
> association
> with iron and copper metallic objects like swords, knives and bangles.
>  Mr Raghavan said he had identified a unique pre-historic discovery  
> of a
> stillborn baby. “The foetus is about 3-5 months old, which I found  
> from one
> of the urns. Association of fossilised bird bones and domesticated  
> cattle
> teeth further throw light on the pre-historic domestication of  
> animals,” he
> said.

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