Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

In news: Ancient Tamil Civilization

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tamiraparani Civilization

Mains level : Ancient Indian Civilizations

A reconnaissance survey in the sea off the coast of Korkai in Thoothukudi district where Tamiraparani River joins the sea, which finds mention in Sangam literature, will be undertaken by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department.

About Tamiraparani River

  • The Thamirabarani or Tamraparni or Porunai is a perennial river that originates from the Agastyarkoodam peak of the Pothigai hills of the Western Ghats.
  • It flows through the Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts of the Tamil Nadu state of southern India into the Gulf of Mannar.
  • It was called the Tamraparni River in the pre-classical period, a name it lent to the island of Sri Lanka.
  • The old Tamil name of the river is Porunai.

Its history

  • Its many name derivations of Tan Porunai include Tampraparani, Tamirabarni, Tamiravaruni.
  • Tan Porunai nathi finds mention by classical Tamil poets in ancient Sangam Tamil literature Purananuru.
  • Recognised as a holy river in Sanskrit literature Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana, the river was famed in the Early Pandyan Kingdom for its pearl and conch fisheries and trade.
  • The movement of people, including the faithful, trade merchants and toddy tapers from Tamraparni river to northwestern Sri Lanka led to the shared appellation of the name for the closely connected region.
  • One important historical document on the river is the treatise Tamraparni Mahatmyam.
  • It has many ancient temples along its banks. A hamlet known as Appankoil is located on the northern side of the river.

Back2Basics: Keeladi Civilization

  • The Keeladi tale began to unravel in March 2015 when first round of excavation was undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • It unearthed antiquities providing crucial evidence to understanding the missing links of the Iron Age [12th century BCE to 6th century BCE] to the Early Historic Period [6th century BCE to 4th century BCE].
  • Further excavations threw up strong clues about the existence of a Tamil Civilization that had trade links with other regions in the country and abroad.
  • This civilization has been described by Tamil poets belonging to the Sangam period.
  • Results of carbon dating of a few artifacts traced their existence to 2nd century BCE (the Sangam period).

Key findings in excavations

  • These included brick structures, terracotta ring wells, fallen roofing with tiles, golden ornaments, broken parts of copper objects, iron implements, terracotta chess pieces, ear ornaments, spindle whorls, figurines.
  • It also had black and redware, rouletted ware and a few pieces of Arretine ware, besides beads made of glass, terracotta and semi-precious stones.

 

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