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What is the News?
Carbon dating of excavated finds in Tamil Nadu pushes evidence of iron being used in India back to 4,200 years ago.
Where did the researchers conduct excavations?
Researchers conducted excavations at the Mayiladumparai site near Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu.
Note: Mayiladumparai is an important site with cultural material dating back between the Microlithic (30,000 BCE) and Early Historic (600 BCE) ages. This site was discovered by Prof Rajan in the 1990s.
What did the researchers find at this site?
Researchers recovered Iron Items from this site. The carbon dating of these iron items pushes evidence of iron being used in India back to 4,200 years ago.
Before this, the earliest evidence of iron use was from 1900-2000 BCE for the country and from 1500 BCE for Tamil Nadu. The latest evidence dates the findings from Tamil Nadu to 2172 BCE.
Iron is not known to have been used in the Indus Valley, from where the use of copper in India is said to have originated (1500 BCE).
When did the use of Iron started?
In 1979, the use of iron was traced to 1300 BCE at Ahar in Rajasthan.
Later, samples at Bukkasagara in Karnataka indicated iron production dated back to 1530 BCE.
The date was subsequently pushed back to 1700-1800 BCE with excavations finding evidence of iron smelting at Raipura in the Mid-Ganga valley and then to 1900-2000 BCE based on investigations in sites at Malhar near Varanasi and Brahmagiri in North Karnataka.
A series of dating results on finds from various parts of India have shown evidence of iron-ore technology before 1800 BCE.
What is the significance of these findings?
With the latest evidence tracing India’s Iron Age to 2000 BCE from 1500 BC, one can assume that Tamil’s cultural seeds were laid in 2000 BCE.
And the benefit of these socio-economic changes and massive production triggered by the iron technology gave its first fruit around 600 BCE — the Tamil Brahmi scripts.
Source: The post is based on the article “Iron in Tamil Nadu 4,200 years ago: a new dating and its significance” published in Indian Express on 14th May 2022.