MADURAI/SIVAGANGA: Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department will continue the excavation at Keezhadi to prove the supremacy of ancient Tamil culture scientifically, said Minister for Archaeology Thangam Thennarusu.
Briefing journalists at Madurai airport on Thursday noon, the minister said, "While carrying out excavations in the nook and corners of Tamil Nadu, we have unearthed proof of how old the Tamil language, Tamil civilisation and cultural remnants are."
Until a certain period, there were only literary sources to prove that Tamil was an ancient language. Later, excavations established that Tamil language originated in the 2nd century BC and then it was dated back to the 6th century BC, Thennarusu stressed. By providing scientific proof, Sivagalai excavations have revealed that Tamil culture existed in the beginning of Iron Age, he added.
"At this juncture, a few persons were unable to accept the significant findings and were intolerant about the pride of Tamil language and the Tamil people coming out on the world stage. Nevertheless, we will continue to establish the facts relating to Tamil civilisation scientifically," the minister asserted, referring to a recent article published in Thuglak magazine.
He went on to add, "Anyone who states that excavations are unnecessary and demean the efforts taken up to uphold the Tamil culture is to be condemned. We are proud to reiterate our Tamil pride." The minister made the comments in the backdrop of the Thuglak article that called the excavation carried out by Tamil Nadu government as a wasteful expenditure and that nothing could be gained by digging out the artefact.
Punch-marked silver coin found
Meanwhile, a thin silver punch-marked coin was discovered at Keezhadi during the seventh phase of excavation, said Thennarasu on Thursday. According to sources, the silver punch-marked coin weighing 2.20 gm was traced at the depth of 147 cm in a trench. One side of the coin has symbols such as sun, moon, a bull, taurine, an animal figurine and geometric design and the other side has semi-circles and an L-shaped mark. Such coins were also recovered during the excavations at Kodaikanal and Alagankulam in the previous years. During the phase-IV a similar coin was traced at a depth 162 cm in Keezhadi.
"The silver punch-marked coins are considered as one of the indicators for the existence of trade between the north and the south, particularly with Gangetic valley. These coins were in circulation from the time of Mahajanpadas of the 6th century BCE," added sources.
The excavation is supervised by the Principal Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department B Chandra Mohan and Director of the Department Dr R Sivanantham.