Visit to Edakkal

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan palaniappa at AOL.COM
Tue Oct 9 03:24:33 UTC 2012

Dear Scholars,

As you know there have been different views expressed regarding the so-called Edakkal-5 inscription.
The latest Avanam issue carried some additional opinions.

I am giving below the pictures published in the Hindu, i.e., (1) the estampage of Dr. Raghava Varier, (2) the computer-enhanced picture from CICT and (3) the reconstruction used by Mr. Iravatham Mahadevan.


On August 24, 2012, I visited the Edakkal cave, saw the inscription in person, and took several pictures with my limited photographic ability. I hope these pictures help in furthering the scholarly inquiry.  

Picture 4 shows the immediate context of the so-called inscription.

Here you will notice that the English letters KHV with green patina. They are obviously older than the brown patina of some of the scratchings which have contaminated the characters of the 'inscription'.  Also please note the goggle-like marking is touching the so-called 'ma'/'mi' character at the top right. Also there is a curved line connecting the base of the 'ma'/'mi' character  

Picture 5 is the raw picture taken by me of the inscription. 


Picture 6 is the same as Picture 5 enhanced in my iMac iPhoto. 

One can see that the estampage (1) and the reconstruction (3) have been affected by modern scratchings. For example, while the estampage seems to be right in having a complete loop in the leftmost character, the horizontal extensions to the left seem to be due to the modern scratchings. The discontinuity in the loop in the reconstruction (3) seems to be again due to the modern scratching. Also the middle vertical line of so-called ழ does not curve to the right as in (3). Rather the loop seems to be entirely to the left of the vertical line. If you look at Picture 4 the vertical line of ழ

seems to continue/touch a line that curves to the right.

Here is Picture (7) that shows a well-defined unmistakable inscription 'kaṭummiputa cēra'.

I am completely open with respect to what these markings may/may not mean. However, In my humble opinion, we need more careful work with better  equipment in order to first establish the shapes of the markings in question that all scholars can agree on. After that one can decide if they are letters or not and what those letters are. 

By the way, there is a cave in Hermitage Resort in the same mountain. See Picture 8.
According to the resort staff, about half of the sediment in the cave has been cleared by the private owners to set up a dining area. But there seems to be a lot of sediment that can be excavated by arachaeologists. If the caves higher up in the mountain had been visited by pre-historic and historic people to carve the figurines and inscribe letters, the cave in the Hermitage Resort may also have some ancient artifacts. That may be worth excavating.



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