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New Dates Push Back Creation of India’s Tamil-Brahmi Script

Friday, September 20, 2019

TAMIL NADU, INDIA—According to a report in The Hindu, the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department announced that new radiocarbon and accelerator mass spectrometry dates have been obtained for the site of Keeladi, which is located on the banks of the Vaigai River near the southern tip of India. Analyses of samples from the site indicate it was occupied as early as the sixth century B.C., or about 300 years earlier than previously thought. In addition to readjusting the timeline of the Sangam Era, the test results push back the age of the Tamil-Brahmi script and the advent of literacy in the region to the sixth century B.C., explained T. Udayachandran, the state commissioner of archaeology. More than 50 pieces of pottery bearing Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions were recovered at the site during recent excavations. Spindle whorls, bone-tip tools, terracotta spheres, a copper needle, and vessels for holding liquid—all tools thought to have been used to manufacture textiles—were also recovered. To read about another recent discovery in the state of Tamil Nadu, go to "India's Temple Island."

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