RAMANATHAPURAM: Members of the Ramanathapuram Archaeological Research Foundation have for the first time unearthed a stone pillar that reportedly has information on Jewish trade links and dates back to the 13th century AD, at Valantharavai.
The pillar contains inscriptions on the region's trade ties with the Jewish community.
Historian P Satish actually spotted the stone first and passed on the information to the foundation president, V Rajaguru, who took estampage of the inscription and studied it.
"There are inscriptions on all four sides of the pillar, which is three-foot long and one-foot wide. The first side has 21 Tamil lines, the second 14 lines and the third side 15 lines. The lines on the fourth side are not legible as they have worn out. There are 50 lines in total," he said.
Further, Rajaguru said the inscriptions begin with 'swasti shri' and mentions boundaries of the land donated to Suthapalli alias Ainutruvan Perumpalli.
On the eastern side of the pillar, details of Valaicherry and narrow way are inscribed, while on the southern side, the estates of Thirumudhucholasilai Chettiar, Pathinenbhumi Jeyabalan and Koothan Devanar are mentioned, and Nalu Natani Sona sandhi, Srichola peruntheru, tharisapalli wall, Pizhar Palli, tharisapalli south wall are inscribed on the western side.
"Suthapalli is a Jewish worship place. The trade guild of Ainutruvar had built a Palli (church) for Jews in Periyapattinam. A Hebrew epitaph of a Jewish woman named Mariam at Periyapattinam is mentioned in the Archaeological Survey of India's Annual Report on Epigraphy 1946-47," he explained.
Nalu Natani Sona sandhi is said to be a meeting place for nanadesi (Tamil word: Nalu Natani) traders.
"There are places and gardens here that once belonged to the trade guilds of Ainutruvar, Pathinenbhumi, and Nanadesi. Based on the writing style, the inscription apparently dates between 1200-1250 AD," he added.