A chance find of 1,800-year-old artefacts in Tamil Nadu

A range of artefacts which can be dated from third century BCE to the 15th century CE have been unearthed at an excavation at Natham, near Kattuputhur village, in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchi district.

A chance find of 1,800-year-old artefacts in Tamil Nadu
Terracotta heads of Sastha (left) and the Buddha found near Kattuputhur
[Credit: K.V. Srinivasan/The Hindu]
The artefacts include five potsherds with Tamil Brahmi script, shallow and deep terracotta bowls and plates, thin black and red ware, miniature pottery, beautiful terracotta figurines of the Buddha and the Sastha, beads made out of conch shells, and so on. The remains of a “palatial structure,” datable to second century CE, were found.

“The site is significant because it contains deposits that span a period of about 1,800 years — from third century BCE to the 15th century CE. Furthermore, the archaeological mound has cultural deposits to a depth of 6.5 metres,” said T. Satyamurthy, former Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Two trial trenches laid from April 26 to May 20 revealed also flood action from the Cauvery river, first during the second century CE and again in the seventh century CE.

R. Krishnamurthy, Editor, Dinamalar and a specialist in Tamil Brahmi inscriptions, who examined the five potsherds with the Tamil-Brahmi script, dated the script to third century BCE. “The bottom portion of the letter “zha,” occurring in a Tamil Brahmi script on a potsherd from Natham, is similar to the letter “zha” found in the Tamil Brahmi inscription at Mankulam, near Madurai. So the Tamil Brahmi script found on potsherds at Natham can be dated to third century BCE,” Dr. Krishnamurthy said.

The site came to light under interesting circumstances. Swarnamalya Ganesh, trustee, Sri Lalithalayam Trust and who belongs to Kattuputhur, found on a big mound at Natham two beautiful russet-coated pots, a perfectly turned rimmed dish-on-stand and an artistic-looking dabber used by potters, and stone and glass beads. She found several granite sculptures of the Buddha, Garuda, Jeshtadevi, Vishnu, Nandi etc. in and around Natham. She informed Dr. Satyamurthy, also founder, Rural Education and Conservation of Heritage (REACH) Foundation, about the mound and the artefacts. A licence for the excavation was obtained from the ASI. K.K. Ramamurthy, former Superintending Archaeologist, Thrissur Circle, ASI, was the excavation director.

Author: T. S. Subramanian | Source: The Hindu [July 01, 2014]

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