Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Ancient sea link discovered by ASI


The Statesman
February 12, 2006

CHANDIGARH — 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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