Last year, a Neolithic stone shaped like a hand held axe, dating to between 2000 BC – 1500 BC, was found near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. The interesting thing about this find, besides the age was that the axe had Indus Valley signs on it which was read by Iravatham Mahadevan as Murukan.
Epigraphists attached to the department, Dr S Rajagopal and Dr N Marxia Gandhi, after confirming the suspicions referred it to Mr Iravadham Mahadevan, a researcher on Indus scripts, who concurred with the view that it was a Neolithic find with Harappan symbol etchings. The find got the department excited as it was the first Neolithic tool discovery below the Godavari region (south of Daimadbad, now Maharashtra) and it corroborated with a 1970s concurrence among International Indus Valley researchers that Indus Valley finds pointed to a link with earlier Dravidian culture. Further references led to dating the tool to a period between late Neolithic and pre-Iron age between 2000 BC and 1000 BC. “The granite must have been etched with Iron. Iron age occurred in the Deccan region first,” says Dr Gandhi.[Archaeologists brace for debate on Tamil past]
Mr. Mahadevan also thinks that the Neolithic people of Tamil Nadu and the Harappans shared the same script and the same language. This word has been seen many times in artifacts found in Harappa. Does this mean that the Indus Valley folks had a link to the Dravidian culture or is there any other theory behind it?
These issues will be discussed in the first International Symposium on Indus Civilisation and Tamil language, to be held in Chennai on today and tomorrow.