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Ancient Indian History
[url="http://www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-39009.html"]Crowds flock to Hampi for a king's coronation![/url]
Quote:By Fakir Balaji, Hampi (Karnataka), Jan 27 : Thousands of people descended on this world renowned heritage site Wednesday to witness the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Krishnadevaraya as emperor of the mighty Vijayanagara kingdom of yore!

Hours before the formal celebrations began in the evening, people used all modes of transport to throng the decked up ruins where a massive stage has been erected to recreate the grandeur of the coronation amid pomp and pageantry befitting the legendary king.

The three-day Hampi Utsav is being held at six venues spread over this 16th century capital of the Vijayanagara empire on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, about 350 km from Bangalore.

"The festival aims to portray the grandeur of the time when Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara, one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in India's medieval history," Kannada culture director Manu Baligar told IANS at the venue

"The fest began with rural and adventure sports getting under way at the Kamalapura grounds from 10 a.m. onwards. Sports, including wrestling, kabaddi and weight-lifting, and rock-climbing that were popular during the emperor's reign are staged to relive the golden times," he said.

Jagdish Shettar, the state rural development and panchayat raj minister who inaugurated the sports, lamented that youth had forgotten native sports and games due to cricket mania.

"I hope staging sports and other physical activities that were popular during the Krishnadevaraya reign will revive interest among our youth, especially in rural areas," Shettar said on the occasion.

Goolihatti Shekar, the state youth and sports minister, participated in rock-climbing with about 200 youths.

Finishing touches were given to the main stage, which has been artistically decorated with stone platforms that were the hallmarks of Vijayanagara architecture .

Hundreds of artists from Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai built a make-shift stage measuring 200 feet wide, 100 feet long and 40 feet high for the cultural extravaganza at the inaugural ceremony.

Noted danseuse Sonal Mansingh, classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj and actress-politician Hema Malini will perform after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj launches the fest before sunset.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, his cabinet colleagues and dignitaries will be present at the three-hour long inaugural event. Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will grace the occasion.

"The present generation has a lot to learn from the golden era of Krishnadevaraya, who ruled the Vijayanagara empire for 21 years from 1509 to 1530," Baligar pointed out.

A grand procession, comprising about a dozen elephants, a score of camels and 40 horses will precede the inaugural event from 'Sasivekalu Ganesha', a giant rock statue of Hindu god Ganesha, to the main venue, which is a mile away.

About 500 folk artists, musicians, drummers, dancers and singers will also form the procession.

Spread over 26 sq km, the Hampi ruins lie in the Deccan heartland of south India, with the Tungabhadra river flowing in the north and rocky hills and boulders on the three other sides.

The windswept hamlet was once the centre of a vibrant, thriving culture that enriched the carved temples and rock-cut magnificence.

Various cultural programmes, including song and dance, and a sound and light show, will recreate the grandeur and glory of the empire over the next two days.

South Indians in Roman Egypt?


Do we have a theory on what those South Indians were doing in Berenike?

No doubt they were there to conduct business. They travelled to make money!
Ancient Hindu Temple Uncovered - 1000 years old

Stone inscription with Indus signs found in Gujarat

T. S. Subramanian

[Image: TH06_THERN_INSCRIPT_114035f.jpg]

The Hindu SIGNIFICANT DISCOVERY: R.S. Bisht, former Joint Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, pointing to the Indus inscription found engraved on a sandstone at Dholavira in Gujarat. Photo: V.V.Krishnan

First time Indus script found engraved on natural stone

An inscription on stone, with three big Indus signs and possibly a fourth, has been found on the Harappan site of Dholavira in Gujarat.

The discovery is significant because this is the first time that the Indus script has been found engraved on a natural stone in the Indus Valley. The Indus script has so far been found on seals made of steatite, terracotta tablets, ceramics and so on. Dholavira also enjoys the distinction of yielding a spectacularly large Indus script with 10 big signs on wood. This inscription was three-metre long.

Both the discoveries were made by a team led by R.S. Bisht, who retired as Joint Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India in 2004. While the stone inscription was discovered in 1999, the script with 10 large signs was found in 1991.

“The inscription on stone is unique because it is the first of its kind [in the Indus civilisation area]. It is the first inscription on a stone slab. But only part of it was found,” said Dr. Bisht, who led 14 field excavation seasons at Dholavira from 1989 to 2001. “It was a natural limy sandstone cut into shape and then engraved with an inscription,” he said.

The signs are seven cm tall and 6-10 cm wide.

The script has three large Indus signs, running from right to left, and there appears to be a fourth sign too. Dr. Bisht said: “The inscription must have run longer, but the stone was broken into pieces. The stone was used as ordinary building material for making an underground chamber in the bailey area of the citadel during stage five of the seven stages documenting the rise and fall of the Indus civilisation at Dholavira. It was placed in such a manner that it was facing us when we found it.”

He was sure that there must be more stone pieces with the Indus script there. He surmised that the stone with the script must have been used as a lintel of the doorway of the underground chamber so that people could notice it. The inscription could have stood for the name of the house, its owner or an incantation. “It is a closed book,” he said. (The Indus script has not been deciphered yet).

Michel Danino, independent researcher in the Harappan civilisation, called it “an unprecedented discovery because there is no stone inscription in the Indus civilisation.” Stone was a rare material on the Indus plains. “This is the first time we have come across a stone inscription, but it has not attracted the attention it deserves,” Mr. Danino said.

Dholavira in Kachch district is a major Indus site. It attracted wide attention in the 1990s for yielding what Dr. Bisht calls “a spectacularly large inscription made of 10 unusually big Indus signs” which were inlaid on a wooden board which had, however, decayed. The signs were made of thoroughly baked gypsum. It must have been sported right above the north gate of the castle, and “it must have been visible from afar with its white brilliance,” Dr. Bisht said.

Highly literate society

He argued that it was a highly literate Harappan society that must have existed at Dholavira because seals, tablets, pottery, bangles and even copper tools with Indus signs were found everywhere in the citadel, the middle town, the lower town and the annexe of the site.

Besides, the same seals, beads, pottery and ornaments were found everywhere as if the entire population had wealth. “It appears to have been an egalitarian society. On the basis of material culture, you cannot draw a distinction among the city's inhabitants,” he said.

Interesting news about Neanderthal-Human interaction. Could this be the basis of the vanara story. What always intrigued me was description of Tara et al vanara females who are described in human terms while male were the vanara type.

Neanderthal-Human mating genetic evidence
[url="http://www.hindustantimes.com/Iron-Age-burial-sites-found-in-Tamil-Nadu/H1-Article1-586067.aspx"]Iron Age burial sites found in Tamil Nadu[/url]
Quote:Hundreds of Iron Age megalithic burial sites of different types and habitational deposits of the contemporary period have been discovered by Archeological Survey of India (ASI) at Sengalur village in the Pudukottai District of Tamil Nadu. More than 500 megalithic structures believed to be dating back to about 500–300 BC have been found during excavations carried out in an area of about 25 hectares at the village near Tiruchirappalli, a senior ASI official said.

“The findings are rare and the megalithic sites are one of the earliest architectural attempts of the people in South India,” ASI Superintending Archaeologist, Temple Suvey Project Southern Region, D Dayalan said.

The findings include stone circles of laterite or granite boulders and made with cairn packing, cist burial of different types, pit burial and urn burial with or without capstones. A special feature was the rectangular shaped structure of Iron Age sepulchral monument. It was unique and not found anywhere in South India except a solitary finding at Sittannavasal in the same district, he said.

The excavations also yielded habitational objects like potteries of different shapes and sizes including bi-coloured (red and black) pots besides iron objects at Melappatti.

Râma and Homer

an argument that in the Indian epics Homer found the theme of his two great poems

by Arthur Lillie.

Published 1912
[quote name='ramana' date='08 May 2010 - 01:24 AM' timestamp='1273261616' post='106268']

Interesting news about Neanderthal-Human interaction. Could this be the basis of the vanara story. What always intrigued me was description of Tara et al vanara females who are described in human terms while male were the vanara type.

Neanderthal-Human mating genetic evidence


There is now evidence of Denisova Hominid mating with humans from DNA

IMHO, we could be having a few more hominids in our DNA

A rakshasa or a vanara could easily be a hominid
Rakshasa and vanaras being some form of hominids would make perfect sense. Being hominids they might have different appearance and the memory would be as the epics depict. However wouldn't that put the epics to an earlier era?
Ramana garu: Have you read Prof. Balagangdhara's essay "What do Indians need: A History or the Past?" He talks about the dangers of considering our puranas as a form of historiographies.
[url="http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/slideshow_photos-8000-year-old-advanced-civilisation-in-konkan-coast_1547920#top"] 8000-year-old advanced civilisation in Konkan Coast? [/url]
Quote:Did the Konkan coast from Shrivardhan in Raigad to Vengurla in Sindhudurga host a human habitat around 8000 years ago? Did that population have well-developed engineering skills? Was there a unique Konkan culture in existence in 6000BC?

A new archaeological discovery, below sea level along the Konkan coast, could give answers to these questions. And explorers say the answer could well be a big ‘Yes!’

[Image: 1547923.jpg]

Researchers have found a wall-like structure that is 24 kilometres long, 2.7 metres tall, and around 2.5 metres wide. The structure shows uniformity in its construction.

“The structure is not continuous throughout the 225 kilometres from Shrivardhan to Raigad, but it is uniform,” said Dr Ashok Marathe, professor, department of archaeology, Postgraduate and Research Institute, Deccan College, Pune.

“It has been found three metres below the present sea level. It has been constructed on the ancient sand beach, which was taken as the base for the construction. Considering the uniformity of natural.the structure, it was obvious that the structure is man-made and not [Image: 1547925.jpg]”

I think either Tsunami came or big Earth Quake, because around same time Dwaraka collapsed into Sea.
Indian history was very interesting
Cross-post, without comments but with emphasis/colours.

(The whiny commented version is in the Buddhism thread, since this is a controversial topic. But what isn't topic made into one, where India is concerned?)

2 related items.

1. hindu.com/2004/05/26/stories/2004052602871200.htm

Quote:Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Skeletons, script found at ancient burial site in Tamil Nadu

By T.S. Subramanian

An urn containing a human skull and bones unearthed by the Archaeological Survey of India at Adhichanallur, near Tirunelveli town in Tamil Nadu. Twelve of these urns (below) contain human skeletons. Three of them, which may be 2,800 years old, bear inscriptions that resemble the early Tamil Brahmi script. -- Photos: A. Shaikmohideen

CHENNAI, MAY 25. In spectacular finds, the Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circle, has unearthed a dozen 2,800-year-old human skeletons intact in urns at Adichanallur, 24 km from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. Three of these urns contain writing resembling the early Tamil Brahmi script. The dozen urns containing the skeletons form a part of about 100 fully intact urns unearthed in various trenches at the site, where excavation is under way. The urns were found at a depth of two to three metres. The finds may revolutionise theories about the origin of ancient culture in Tamil Nadu and the origin of writing in South Asia.

T. Satyamurthy, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Chennai Circle, the director of excavation at Adichanallur, said: "People generally think that megalithic culture is the earliest culture in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu. In our excavation [at Adichanallur], we have come across a culture earlier than the megalithic period." The megalithic period in South India ranges from 3rd century B.C. to 3rd century A.D.

Dr. Satyamurthy called Adichanallur "the earliest historical site in Tamil Nadu." The ASI would conduct "a thorough exploration of the area" to find out whether there had been any habitation nearby. If such a site was found, it would be the first discovery of its kind in Tamil Nadu. So far, no habitation belonging to this period had been found in the State. He described the discovery of writing resembling the early Tamil Brahmi script on the urns as "very important."

Samples of the skeletons have been sent to the National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, for carbon-14 dating.

Along with the skeletons, husks, grains of rice, charred rice and neolithic celts (axe-like instruments used in agricultural operations) have been found.

The skeletons found in two or three urns show that prior to the megalithic period, these people used to inter the dead in urns along with the items they had used. Early Tamil Sangam works contained elaborate descriptions of the urn-burial custom. At Adichanallur, pottery belonging to the early historic period, which stretches from 3rd century B.C. to 3rd century A.D., was found on the upper layers of the trenches and the urns were found below. So the discoveries at Adichanallur may go back to 7th or 8th century B.C., probably earlier than the Sangam period, Dr. Satyamurthy said.

He said that since the Brahmi script was found together with the skeletons, the date of the script could be determined if they could fix the date of the skeletons. "So far, we have been doing it on palaeographic grounds. Now, we will get a scientific date." He said that the script might refer to names.

Dr. Sathyamurthy said that the Brahmi script of around 500 B.C. had been found in Sri Lanka. Dr. S.U. Deraniyagala, former Director-General and now Consultant to the Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka, called the discovery of the writing on the urns at Adichanallur "fantastic" and "very, very important." The evidence of writing on more than 75 pieces of pottery had been found in Sri Lanka and radio-carbon dating had established that they belonged to the period between 600 B.C. and 500 B.C. This discovery "sheds a completely new light on the origin of writing in South Asia," said Dr. Deraniyagala. Interestingly, there has been no evidence of habitation close to the cemeteries (burial sites) discovered there.

According to G. Thirumoorthy, Assistant Archaeologist, ASI, Chennai Circle, many artefacts had been found along with the skeletons at Adichanallur.

They included miniature bowls made of clay that were used in rituals, black and red wares of megalithic period ranging from the 7th century B.C. to 2nd century A.D., potsherds with graffiti marks, iron spearheads, knife-blades and hopscotches of various shapes including those in perfect circles. These hopscotches were used as weights, he said.

2. thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article2408091.ece

Quote:Palani excavation triggers fresh debate

T.S. Subramanian

Chennai, August 29, 2011

Did the Tamil-Brahmi script originate in the post-Asokan period, that is, after the 3rd century BCE, or is it pre-Asokan? A cist-burial excavated in 2009 at Porunthal village, on the foothills of the Western Ghats, 12 km from Palani in Tamil Nadu, has reignited this debate because of the spectacular variety of grave goods it contained.

One of the two underground chambers of the grave was remarkable for the richness of its goods: a skull and skeletal bones, a four-legged jar with two kg of paddy inside, two ring-stands inscribed with the same Tamil-Brahmi script reading “va-y-ra” (meaning diamond) and a symbol of a gem with a thread passing through it, 7,500 beads made of carnelian, steatite, quartz and agate, three pairs of iron stirrups, iron swords, knives, four-legged jars of heights ranging from few centimetres to one metre, urns, vases, plates and bowls. It was obviously a grave that belonged to a chieftain ( The Hindu , June 28, 2009 and Frontline , October 8, 2010).

When K. Rajan, Professor, Department of History, Pondicherry University, excavated this megalithic grave, little did he realise that the paddy found in the four-legged jar would be instrumental in reviving the debate on the origin of the Tamil-Brahmi script. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating of the paddy done by Beta Analysis Inc., Miami, U.S.A, assigned the paddy to 490 BCE. “Since all the goods kept in the grave including the paddy and the ring-stands with the Tamil-Brahmi script are single-time deposits, the date given to the paddy is applicable to the Tamil-Brahmi script also,” said Dr. Rajan. So the date of evolution of Tamil-Brahmi could be pushed 200 years before Asoka, he argued.

This dating, done on the Porunthal paddy sent to the U.S. laboratory by Dr. Rajan, took the antiquity of the grave belonging to the early historic age to 490 BCE, he said. It held great significance for Tamil Nadu's history, he added. This was the first time an AMS dating was done for a grave in Tamil Nadu.

There are two major divergent views on the date of Tamil-Brahmi.

While scholars such as Iravatham Mahadevan and Y. Subbarayalu hold the view that Tamil-Brahmi was introduced in Tamil Nadu after 3rd century BCE and it is, therefore, post-Asokan, some others including K.V. Ramesh, retired Director of Epigraphy, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), consider it pre-Asokan.

According to Dr. Rajan, the AMS dating of the Porunthal paddy grains has the following implications: the context of the Tamil-Brahmi goes back to 490 BCE and it is, therefore, pre-Asokan; Tamil Nadu's ancient history can be pushed back to 5th century BCE and it was contemporary to mahajanapadas (kingdoms) such as Avanti, Kosala, Magadha and so on; paddy cultivation goes back to 5th century BCE; and it establishes that the megalithic graves introduced in the Iron Age continued into the early historic times.

When contacted, Mr. Mahadevan, a leading authority on the Tamil-Brahmi and Indus scripts, and Dr. Subbarayalu, Head, Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry, said it was difficult to reach a conclusion on the basis of one single scientific dating.

Mr. Mahadevan described the dating as “interesting” but said “multiple carbon-dates are needed” for confirmation. “If there are several such cases, history has to be re-written because up to now, the scientifically proved earliest date is from Tissamaharama in southern Sri Lanka, where a Tamil-Brahmi script is dated to 200 BCE.” If there is scientific evidence that the paddy is dated to 490 BCE, “we have to sit up and take notice, and wait for confirmation,” Mr. Mahadevan said.

The Asokan-Brahmi is dated to 250 BCE. Megasthenes, the Greek Ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, Emperor Asoka's grandfather, had stated that the people of Chandragupta Maurya's kingdom did not know how to write and that they depended on memory. Besides, there is no inscription of the pre-Asoka period available. Mr. Mahadevan said: “Supposing a large number of carbon-datings are available from various sites, which will take us to the period of the Mauryas and even the Nandas, we can consider. But to push [the date of the origin of the Tamil-Brahmi script] a couple of centuries earlier with a single carbon-dating is not acceptable because chances of contamination and error are there.”

Dr. Subbarayalu also argued that on the basis of one single scientific dating, it was difficult to reach the conclusion that Tamil-Brahmi was pre-Asokan. There should be more evidence to prove that Tamil-Brahmi was earlier to the time of Asoka, in whose time was available the earliest Brahmi script in north India.

Mr. Mahadevan's conclusion that Tamil-Brahmi is post-Asokan and it had its advent from about the middle of the third century BCE is based on “concrete archaeological as well as palaeographical grounds” and this date is as yet the most reasonable one, in spite of minor points of difference on his dating of individual inscriptions, said Dr. Subbarayalu.

The date of the Tamil-Brahmi script found at Porunthal, on palaeographic basis, could be put only in the first century BCE/CE and “cannot be pushed back to such an early date [490 BCE].”

The three letters “va-y-ra” found on the ring-stands were developed and belonged to the second stage of Mr. Mahadevan's dating of Tamil-Brahmi. “It is premature to revise the Tamil-Brahmi dating on the basis of a single carbon date, which is governed by complicated statistical probabilities,” Dr. Subbarayalu said. The word “vayra” is an adapted name from the Prakrit or Sanskrit “vajra” and it is difficult to explain convincingly the generally dominant Prakrit element in Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions found on rock and pot-sherds if Tamil-Brahmi is indigenous and pre-Asokan and transported from south India to north India, he says.

On the other hand, Dilip K. Chakrabarti, Emeritus Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, called the Porunthal Tamil-Brahmi script “an epoch-making discovery in the archaeology of Tamil Nadu” and said there “is no doubt” that Tamil-Brahmi belonged to the pre-Asokan period. In two of his books — “An Oxford Companion to Indian Archaeology” and “India, an Archaeological History” — he had written that the evolution of Tamil-Brahmi should go back to circa 500 BCE.

He refuted the theory that Tamil-Brahmi was post-Asokan.

Dr. Ramesh, who retired as the ASI's Joint Director-General in 1993, said the Porunthal scientific dating strengthened the argument that Tamil-Brahmi was pre-Asokan. He dismissed the assessment that Tamil-Brahmi was post-Asokan as “the argument of people who say that there cannot be pre-Asokan inscriptions.”
“How can you question the scientific dating given by an American laboratory?” Dr. Ramesh said the Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions found at Mankulam, near Madurai, were pre-Asokan. [The Mankulam inscriptions are the earliest Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and they are dated to second century BCE]. “The consonants in the Mankulam inscriptions do not have vowel value attached to them. They are pre-Asokan and the script is more rudimentary than the Asokan-Brahmi,” he claimed.

The date given by the American laboratory was “a wonderful result,” said M.R. Raghava Varier, former Professor, Department of History, Calicut University, “because the earliest date given so far to a south Indian site was 300 BCE.” The archaeological sites of Uraiyur in Tamil Nadu and Arikkamedu in Puducherry fell within the time-limit of 300 BCE and Arikkamedu belonged to a later period than Uraiyur. While the [pre-Asokan] date given to a Tamil-Brahmi inscription found at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka “has not been proved convincingly,” there was “a convincing date” at Porunthal and it was based on a scientific dating system, said Professor Varier, who was the honorary Editor of Kerala Archaeological Series. Its importance lay in the fact that while the Asokan-Brahmi began in the 3rd century BCE, the Porunthal script could be dated to 5th century BCE, he says. “But we cannot argue that Brahmi was invented by the southern people. That is a different issue.”

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