Annaicoddai seal

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Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions mixed in with Megalithic Graffiti Symbols found in Annaikottai, Sri Lanka Aanaikkottai seal.jpg
Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions mixed in with Megalithic Graffiti Symbols found in Annaikottai, Sri Lanka

Annaicoddai Seal is a steatite seal that was found in Annaicoddai, Sri Lanka during archeological excavations of a megalithic burial site by a team of researchers from the Jaffna University. The seal contains some of the oldest inscriptions in Tamil-Brahmi mixed with Megalithic Graffiti symbols found on the island. Although many pottery fragments have been found in excavations throughout Sri Lanka and Southern India that had both varieties of Brahmi and Megalithic Graffiti Symbols side by side, Annaicoddai seal is distinguished by having each written in a manner that indicates that the Megalithic Graffiti Symbols may be a translation of the Brahmi characters. Read from right to left, the legend is read as ‘Koveta’ (Ko-vet-a). Linguists read it as in South Dravidian or early Tamil indicating a chieftain or king. Similar inscriptions have been found throughout ancient Tamilakam, in modern day South India. [1] [2] Investigators disagree on whether Megalithic Graffiti Symbols found in South India and Sri Lanka constitute an ancient writing system that preceded the introduction and widespread acceptance of Brahmi variant scripts or non lithic symbols. The purpose of usage remains unclear. [3]

Seal (emblem) device or emblem

A seal is a device for making an impression in wax, clay, paper, or some other medium, including an embossment on paper, and is also the impression thus made. The original purpose was to authenticate a document, a wrapper for one such as a modern envelope, or the cover of a container or package holding valuables or other objects.

Sri Lanka Island country in South Asia

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is historically and culturally intertwined with the Indian subcontinent, but is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.

Tamil-Brahmi Historical bugida script for Tamil

Tamil-Brahmi, or Tamili aka Tamizhi is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write the Tamil language. These are the earliest documents of a Dravidian language, and the script was well established in the Chera and Pandyan states, in what is now Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. Inscriptions have been found on cave beds, pot sherds, Jar burials, coins, seals, and rings. The language is Archaic Tamil, and led to classical Sangam literature.

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Brahmi script ancient script of Central and South Asia

Brahmi, developed in the mid-1st millennium BCE, is the oldest known writing system of Ancient India, with the possible exception of the undeciphered Indus script. Brahmi is an abugida that thrived in the Indian subcontinent and uses a system of diacritical marks to associate vowels with consonant symbols. It evolved into a host of other scripts, called the Brahmic scripts, that continue to be in use today in South and Central Asia.

Tamils ethnic group

The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar, Tamilans or simply Tamils, are an ethnic group who speak the language Tamil as their mother tongue and trace their ancestry to southern India and northern Sri Lanka. Tamils, with a population of around 76 million and with a documented history stretching back over 2,000 years, are one of the largest and oldest extant ethnolinguistic groups in the modern world. Tamils constitute 5.9% of the population in India, 15.3% in Sri Lanka, 6% in Mauritius, approximately 7% in Malaysia and 5% in Singapore.

Eelam

Eelam is the native Tamil name for the South Asian island state of Sri Lanka. Eelam is also a name for the spurge, toddy and gold. The exact etymology and the original meaning of the word are not clearly known, and there are number of conflicting theories. The Retroflex approximant l in Eelam is a characteristic phoneme for Dravidian languages, retained in closely related Tamil and Malayalam. Conventionally it has been represented in the Latin script with the digraph zh.

The caste systems in Sri Lanka are social stratification systems found among the ethnic groups of the island since ancient times. The models are similar to those found in Continental India, but are less extensive and important for various reasons, although the caste systems still play an important and at least symbolic role in religion and politics. Sri Lanka is often considered to be a casteless or caste-blind society by Indians.

Sri Lankan Tamils Ethnic group

Sri Lankan Tamils or Ceylon Tamils, also known as Eelam Tamils in Tamil, are members of the Tamil ethnic group native to the South Asian island state of Sri Lanka. According to anthropological and archaeological evidence, Sri Lankan Tamils have a very long history in Sri Lanka and have lived on the island since at least around the 2nd century BCE. Most modern Sri Lankan Tamils claim descent from residents of Jaffna Kingdom, a former kingdom in the north of the island and Vannimai chieftaincies from the east. They constitute a majority in the Northern Province, live in significant numbers in the Eastern Province, and are in the minority throughout the rest of the country. 70% of Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka live in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

Tamilakam geographical region inhabited by the ancient Tamil people. Tamilakam covered most of modern day Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and southern parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

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Tamraparni

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The earliest traces of epigraphy in the Indian Subcontinent are found in the undeciphered inscriptions of the Indus Valley Civilization, which date back to the early 3rd millennium BC. Two other important archeological classes of symbols are found from the 1st millennium BCE, Megalithic Graffiti Symbols and symbols on punch-marked coins, though most scholars do not consider these to constitute fully linguistic scripts, and their semiotic functions are not well understood. The earliest deciphered epigraphic inscriptions of significant length are the Edicts of Ashoka of the 3rd century BCE, written in forms of Prakrit in the Brahmi script. Samanam inscriptions in South India written in Tamil-Brahmi, Bhattiprolu alphabet and the Kadamba alphabet are also of relatively early date. Some Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions discovered at Palani, Erode, and Adichanallur, have been claimed to be as ancient as 500 BCE, but so far only the claimed pre-Ashokan inscriptions at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka have been published academically.

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"The women-folks of lords of Anurai who did not submit to Ariyan of Cinkainakar of foaming and resounding waters shed tears from eyes that glinted like spears and performed the rites of pouring water with gingerly seed from the bejeweled lotus like hands."

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Tissamaharama Tamil Brahmi inscription refers to a fragment of black and red ware flat dish inscribed in Brahmi script excavated at the earliest layer in southern town of Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka. It is dated to approximately 200 BC by German scholars who undertook the excavation. The inscription is mix of Brahmi letters and Graffiti symbols.

Kudiramalai Hamlet in North Western Province, Sri Lanka

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Professor Karthigesu Indrapala is a Sri Lankan academic, historian, archaeologist, author and former dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna.

Megalithic markings, Megalithic graffiti marks, Megalithic symbols or Non-Brahmi symbols are terms used to describe markings found on mostly potsherds found in Central India, South India and Sri Lanka during the Megalithic Iron Age period. They are usually found in burial sites but are also found habitation sites as well. They are tentatively dated from 1000 BCE to 300 CE marking the transition of the proto-historic period into the historic period of South Asia. A number of scholars have tried to decipher the symbols since 1878, and currently there is no consensus as to whether they constitute un-deciphered writing or graffiti or symbols without any syllabic or alphabetic meaning. From archaeological stratigraphy, potsherds with and without symbols are usually found at the lowest level, followed by potsherds with mixed symbols and Brahmi or Tamil Brahmi and eventually at the highest level potsherds are only found with Brahmi or Tamil Brahmi etchings. From around 300 CE, they disappear from grave sites. Scholars such as Iravatham Mahadevan have tried to link the symbols directly to Indus Valley script or as derived due to lingering influence, whereas others such as K. Rajan see the symbols as the genesis of the later Brahmi script. Yet many others see no particular alphabetic value in them only as graffiti symbols used for socio-religious purposes.

Tamil inscriptions Wikimedia list article

This is a list of archaeological artefacts and epigraphs which have Tamil inscriptions. Of the approximately 100,000 inscriptions found by the Archaeological Survey of India in India, about 60,000 were in Tamil Nadu

References

  1. Indrapala 2007 , pp. 337–338
  2. Raghupathy 1987 , pp. 199–204
  3. Boivin 2003 , pp. 29–31

Cited literature

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In computing, a Digital Object Identifier or DOI is a persistent identifier or handle used to uniquely identify objects, standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). An implementation of the Handle System, DOIs are in wide use mainly to identify academic, professional, and government information, such as journal articles, research reports and data sets, and official publications though they also have been used to identify other types of information resources, such as commercial videos.