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Thamirabarani/Porunai civilisation


A carbon dating analysis of rice with soil, found in a burial urn at Sivakalai in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu, by the Miami-based Beta Analytic Testing Laboratory has yielded the date of 1155 BC, indicating that the Thamirabarani civilisation dates back to 3,200 years.


Prelims, GS-I: History (Ancient Indian History)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the study on Thamirabarani civilization
  2. Future Excavations to find Tamil Roots
  3. About Thamirabarani River
  4. Pollution and exploitation of Thamirabarani River

About the study on Thamirabarani civilization

  • The laboratory has conducted the carbon dating analysis of rice with soil found in a burial urn in Sivakalai in southern Tamil Nadu during an archaeological excavation.
  • The analysis has revealed that the Porunai river [Thamirabarani] civilization belongs to 1155 BCE which is 3,200 years ago.
  • Encouraged by this finding, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has announced the establishment of the Porunai Museum in Tirunelveli at a cost of ₹15 crores.
  • This is the oldest civilization perhaps, older than the Vaigai civilization which is believed to be 2,600 years old.
  • The findings of artefacts at the excavation sites proves that the civilisation existed prior to 4th century BC.

Future Excavations to find Tamil Roots

  • The Tamil Nadu government will now conduct archaeological excavations in neighbouring states and countries in search of Tamil roots.
  • In the first phase, studies would be undertaken at the ancient port of Musiri now known as Pattanam, in Kerala. Similar studies would also be conducted at Vengi in Andhra Pradesh and Palur in Odisha.
  • Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department would also conduct research at Quseir al-Qadim and Pernica Anekke in Egypt as well as in Khor Rori in Oman to establish the Tamils trade relations with these countries.
  • Pot shreds with Tamil scripts have been found in these countries.
  • Moreover, studies would also be conducted in southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam where king Rajendra Chola had established supremacy.

About Thamirabarani River

  • The Thamirabarani or Porunai is a perennial river that originates from the Agastyarkoodam peak of Pothigai hills of the Western Ghats, above Papanasam in the Ambasamudram taluk. It is the only perennial river in Tamil Nadu.
  • It flows through Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts of the Tamil Nadu state of southern India into the Gulf of Mannar.
  • It was called the Tamraparni River in the pre-classical period, a name it lent to the island of Sri Lanka. The old Tamil name of the river is Porunai.

Pollution and exploitation of Thamirabarani River

  • Mixing of sewage, paper mill and industrial effluents, dumping etc. into the river is a worrying aspect.
  • Sand mining in this river was banned in 2010 but it still continues illegally.
  • Illegal encroachments of its banks is also a growing concern.
  • Pepsi and other Cola companies bottling facility plants were thought to be exploiting the river water.
  • Religious practices like letting your clothes along the river at Papanasam as an act to wash sins after a bath has also clogged up the river.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024