Ancient oil press found in field

A section of the oil press discovered in Nedumalai village in Tiruchi district.

A section of the oil press discovered in Nedumalai village in Tiruchi district. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A group of history aficionados has discovered the remains of an oil press half-buried in a field in Nedumalai village in Punganur Panchayat on Dindigul Highway that could indicate a time when oil was milled from seeds in a community tool.

“This oil press was originally spotted by Satish Kumar, a Nedumalai resident. We decided to take a closer look at it when we were out birding this week,” K. Balakrishnan, a Tiruchi-based teacher with an abiding interest in archaeology, bird-watching and astronomy, told The Hindu. The inscription on the rim of the press says, ‘Sri Kadambam Bhuvanarrkku, saathanam itta’.

“Noted epigraphist S. Rajagopal deciphered the script for us. Based on the style of the Tamil letters, the press could possibly be dated to the ninth century,” said Mr. Balakrishnan.

The signage indicates that the press was dedicated to an idol of a temple nearby. “It does not exist today, but we were able to see remains of a shrine that could confirm this idea. We also found a statue of Lord Ayyanar without its head carved on a rock,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.

The team was of the opinion that the oil press was used by the community for both domestic and religious purposes. “Edible oil from groundnut and sesame would be extracted for households, while other seeds would be milled for lighting prayer lamps,” said Mr. Balakrishnan.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 9:26:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/ancient-oil-press-found-in-field/article65401415.ece