Carbon dating of samples excavated from the Adichanallur site in Thoothukudi district has revealed that they belonged to the period between 905 BC and 696 BC.
The March 18, 2019, carbon dating report of samples that were sent to Beta Analytic Testing Laboratory, USA, was submitted to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday.
A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and S. S. Sundar observed that this proved Adichanallur was one of the earliest ancient sites in Tamil Nadu. Based on the carbon dating report, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has to take a decision whether it was going to excavate on its own or the Centre would permit the State to excavate the site.
Delayed by 15 years
The court had expressed its displeasure that the artefacts, first excavated in 2004-06 under the supervision of the then Superintending Archaeologist T. Satyamurthy, were not sent for carbon dating for over 15 years.
“ In spite of many efforts taken by intellectuals, historians, political leaders and archaeologists, nothing was done by the ASI, for reasons best known to them, to send the Adichanallur samples for carbon dating,” the court said.
The court had earlier directed the ASI to fence the whole site that is spread across 114 acres and put up a police outpost to prevent any damage. With Sathyabama Badrinath, former Regional Director (South), ASI, currently with the Delhi circle, nominated for preparing the report, the court said that the reports of T. Satyamurthy could also be added in achieving a comprehensive report.
The carbon dating report of the artefacts excavated from Azhagankulam in Ramanathapuram District revealed that they dated back to 345 BC. With the artefacts having Tamil inscriptions, this could prove that Tamil was older than Prakrit dated to be from 268 BC to 232 BC, the court said and directed the State Archaeological department to file a report in this regard. The batch of public litigation petitions on archaeological matters was adjourned till April 11.