Symbols akin to Indus valley culture discovered in Kerala

September 29, 2009 10:41 am | Updated November 16, 2021 09:37 am IST - Kozhikode

FOR N.KERALA PAGE2: Visitors watching the rock engravings  on the walls inside   the  Edakkal cave in Wayanad. NICAID:111027365

WAYANAD 08-09-09 FOR N.KERALA PAGE2: Visitors watching the rock engravings on the walls inside the Edakkal cave in Wayanad. NICAID:111027365

A rock engraving, indicating clear remnants of Harappan culture, has been found in the Edakkal caves in neighbouring Wayanad district, linking the Indus Valley civilisation with South India.

“There had been indications of remnants akin to the Indus Valley civilisation in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but these new findings give credence to the fact that the Harappan civilisation had its presence in the region too and could trace the history of Kerala even beyond the Iron Age,” historian M R Raghava Varier said.

The unique symbols integral to the Indus Valley culture traced in Harappa and Mohanjedaro region that stretched upto Pakistan, were found inside the caves during recent excavations by the State Archaeological Department.

Of the identified 429 signs, “a man with jar cup”, a symbol unique to the Indus civilisation and other compound letters testified to remnants of the Harappan culture, spanning from 2300 BC to 1700 BC, in South India, Mr. Varier, who led the excavation at the caves told PTI.

The “man-with-the-jar” symbol, an integral remnant commonly traced in parts where the Indus Valley civilisation existed, has even more similarities than those traced in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he said.

The ‘man-with-the-jar’ has been a distinct motif of the Indus valley symbols. The Edakkal engraving has retained its unique style as the engraver tried to attain a two-dimensional human figure, Mr. Varier said.

This could be attributed to the transformation from the distinct symbols of the Indus Valley civilisation that could have taken place in due course of time, he said.

The ‘jar’ is more or less same as those in Indus ligature. But the human figure is a little different.

“These symbols form part of compound letters similar to scripts and no concerted efforts appear to have been made in the past to decipher them, with a lone exception by Iravatham Mahadevan (a scholar on the Indus valley civilisation), who could gather valuable ideas from such letters,” he said.

“The discovery of the symbols are akin to that of the Harappan civilisation having predominantly Dravidian culture and testimony to the fact that cultural diffusion could take place. It is wrong to presume that the Indus culture disappeared into thin air,” Mr. Varier said.

The symbols and pictographs found in the Edakkal cave were subjected to study for the first time in 1901 by Fawsette, a police official of the then Malabar district.

Later, Mr. Varier, along with noted history scholar Rajan Gurukkal carried out further studies, which testified that the caves had remnants upto the Iron Age.

The new findings could take the history of Edakkal and Kerala even beyond and throw more light into the culture of the region, Mr. Varier added.

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