The Government of Tamil Nadu this week announced that carbon dating of excavations in Tamil Nadu provides evidence for the use of iron in India 4,200 years ago, based on an Archaeological Survey report.
Prior to this, the earliest evidence of iron use was from 1900-2000 BC for the country and 1500 BC for Tamil Nadu. Recent evidence, however, shows that the use of iron in Tamil Nadu dates back to before 2172 BC.
Chief Minister MK Stalin told the legislature that it was certain that Tamils who lived 4,200 years ago knew about iron. “Dense forests were turned into fertile lands only after mankind began to realize the use of iron. This discovery answers questions about the beginning of agricultural work in Tamil Nadu, ”Stalin said.
The excavations were carried out at Mayiladuthurai near Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, about 100 km south of Bangalore. Mayiladuthurai is an important site of antiquities dating back to the Paleolithic (30,000 BC) and early historical (600 BC) periods.
“This site is located in the middle of many archeological sites like Tokarappalli, Gangavaram, Chandur, Vadarthattakal, Kuttur, Kitlur, Sappamudlu and Kappalavadi. All these important archeological sites are located at a distance of 10 km.
Stalin’s statement entitled Mayiladuthurai states
Professor Rajan discovered the site in the 1990s, and the first excavations from there were made in the 1990s. Dating results using accelerator mass spectroscopy came last week.
The dates on which humans entered the Iron Age vary from one part of the world to another. In India, too, the date has been revised with a series of discoveries over the decades.
The use of iron was discovered in 1979 at Ahar in Rajasthan in 1300 BC. Later, it was revealed that the models representing iron production at Buchasagara in Karnataka date back to before 1530 BC.
Excavations at Raipura in the Central Ganges Valley have uncovered evidence of molten iron. Thus this date was later pushed to 1700-1800 BCE,
Later excavations at Malhar near Varanasi and Brahmagiri in North Karnataka revealed evidence of iron use in India as early as 1900-2000 BC.
Dating results found from different parts of India, dating back to BC. Evidence of iron-ore technology dates back to 1800 years ago.
Prior to the latest discovery, the earliest evidence of iron use in Tamil Nadu was found at Telangana and Mankadu near Mettur, dating to before 1500 BC.
Iron is not known to have been used in the Indus Valley, where the use of copper is said to have originated in India (1500 BC). At the same time other areas where copper was not available were forced to remain in the Stone Age. When iron technology was invented, it led to the production of agricultural implements and weapons, which led to the production necessary for a civilization before economic and cultural progress, said a leading scientist associated with the Mayiladuthurai excavation.
Although useful tools are made of copper, they are brittle and not as strong as steel tools. It would have been difficult to use copper tools to clear dense forests and bring land under agriculture — which is why scientists speculate that deforestation took place only after humans began to use iron.
With the latest evidence that our Iron Age dates from 1500 BC to 2000 BC, we can assume that the seeds of our culture were planted in 2000 BC. And the socio-economic changes induced by iron technology and the benefits of mass production gave its first effect in 600 BC – the Tamil Brahmi script, ”said the scientist.
Culture and politics
Tamil Brahmi script is believed to have appeared in 300 BC, but a major discovery in 2019 pushed it back to 600 BC.
This dating narrowed the gap between the Indus Valley Civilization and the Sangam period of Tamil Nadu / South India. This and recent findings are of political significance.
The chronology of the inscriptions, based on excavations carried out near the lower reaches near Madurai, has been disputed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for not advancing advanced carbon dating experiments, and an Indian archaeologist who initiated the study has been transferred outside the state. Then the 2019 findings emerged from the efforts of the state government.
Stalin told the legislature that the goal of the state government was to establish through scientific means that Indian history should be rewritten from Tamil soil. He said the state archeology department would begin the task of comparing the symbols of the graffiti and the Indus Valley Civilization found below.