University to take up project to trace Poompuhar’s history

Aims to track evolution of ancient Tamil society

March 24, 2019 01:07 am | Updated 01:07 am IST - TIRUCHI

Glorious past:  Poompuhar, an ancient port city, served as the capital of the early Cholas.

Glorious past: Poompuhar, an ancient port city, served as the capital of the early Cholas.

The Department of Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University, will take up a major interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research project to trace the history of the ancient port city Poompuhar with funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The DST has sanctioned ₹8.50 crore for the project, according to P.Manisankar, Vice-Chancellor.

“The project is a big leap for the university and it will bring out the socio- cultural evolution of the ancient Tamils in this country and the history of Poompuhar as well,” Mr.Manisankar said in a statement here on Saturday.

Cauvery Poompattinam or Poompuhar was an ancient port city established by the Chola dynasty at the mouth of the Cauvery during Sangam period and nurtured by several dynasties. It had trade links with Asian, Arabian and Mediterranean countries. But around AD 1100, it seems to have become defunct all of a sudden.

Lure of literature

The elaborate narrations in the Sangam and post-Sangam literature such as Silapathigaram and Manimekalai, among others, attracted scientists from different fields to study the history of the town, Mr.Manisankar said. But despite several surface and underwater explorations, much of Poompuhar, including is origin, evolution and disappearance from the maritime history of the world, remains an enigma, said S.M.Ramasamy, Professor of Eminence, Department of Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University, the National Coordinator of the project.

The study would involve surveying the submerged parts of Poompuhar using unmanned vehicles, multi-beam side looking scanner, underwater photography, computer-based assemblage of fragmented and buried structures and objects.

GIS data bases, archaeological evidence, epigraphical citations and historical references; drilling and geo-chronological dating of the sub-bottom , the sea level rise, Cauvery’s migration, past floods, tsunamis and coastal erosion of the past 20,000-1000 years would be studied to find what caused the disappearance of the port city.

The university will be the lead agency in study. AMET University, Chennai, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, Gandhigram Rural Institute (Deemed University), Tamil University, and SASTRA Deemed University, Thanjavur, Annamalai University, Bharathiar University, Cochin University of Science and Technology, KLET University, Vellamal College of Engineering and Technology, and Renganathan College of Engineering, would also be involved in the project. Murali Mohan, Advisor, DST, would be the nodal person for the project, Mr. Manisankar said.

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