From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Thamirabarani Civilization
Mains level : Ancient Indian Civilizations
A carbon dating analysis of rice with soil, found in a burial urn at Sivakalai in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu has yielded the date of 1155 BC, indicating that the Thamirabarani civilization dates back to 3,200 years.
About Thamirabarani 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 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- One important historical document on the river is the treatise Tamraparni Mahatmyam.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.
Significance of the carbon dating
- This has provided evidence that there was a city civilisation in south India as long back as 3,200 years ago, the later part of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
- Vicinity to the ancient port of Muziris, now known as Pattanam, in Kerala add another significance to the trade history of this site.
- Now, research would be conducted at Quseir al-Qadim and Pernica Anekke in Egypt, which were once part of the Roman empire, as well as in Khor Rori in Oman, to establish the Tamils’ trade relations with these countries.
- Potsherds bearing Tamil scripts have been found in these countries.
- Studies would also be conducted in Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, where King Rajendra Chola had established supremacy.