(Image via KCHR)
The picture shown above is the broken rim of a pot found at the Muziris Heritage site at Pattanam, Kerala. The words, written in Tamil-Brahmi, read “a ma na” which means a Jaina and attests to the fact that Jainism was present in Kerala in the second century CE.
Mr. Cherian, who is also Director of KCHR, said the discovery “excites me as an excavator because it was for the first time we are getting direct evidence relating to a religious system or faith in Kerala.” The pot might have belonged to a Jaina monk. The broken rim with the script was found at a depth of two metres in trench 29 in the early historical layer which “by our stratigraphic understanding could belong to third-second CE period,” he said. The associated finds included amphora sherds, iron nails, and beads among others.
In a trial trench laid earlier at Pattanam by Professor V. Selvakumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology and Epigraphy, Tamil University, Thanjavur and K.P. Shajan of KCHR, a pot-sherd with the Tamil-Brahmi letters reading “ur pa ve o” was found. Later, another Tamil-Brahmi script with the letters “ca ta [n]” was found.[Tamil-Brahmi script found at Pattanam in Kerala (H/T Nikhil, Dr. Cheriyan)]
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