Ancient script found at Mathilakam belongs to eighth century: historian

M.G.S. Narayanan, Director General of Centre for Heritage Studies, examines the stone inscription found at Mathilakam, near Thrissur.– Photo: By Special Arrangement  

The ancient ‘Vattezhuthu’ script found at Mathilakam by the State Archaeology Department is believed to be from the eighth century, according to eminent historian and Director General of Centre for Heritage Studies M.G.S. Narayanan.

Preliminary examinations indicated that the ‘Vattezhuthu’ (a Malayalam script that was popular till 15th century) found at Mathilakam was of eighth century, Mr. Narayanan, who examined the stone inscription at the Kodungallur camp of the Archaeological Department, said.

The stone inscription was found from Kizhakkumburam, near Mathilakam Police Station, on June 27.

“It should be a portion of a big stone. Another stone inscription that was found from the same region has been kept at Mahatma Gandhi University. We should examine whether both belonged to the same stone,” Mr. Narayanan said.

Mathilakam was one of the famous Jain centres during Chera dynasty’s rule. There was a huge Jain temple in Mathilakam. The remnants of the temple are still found in the locality. Later, the Jain temple was transformed to a Shiva temple. The Dutch people took a huge ‘Sivalinga’ from the Siva temple to Cochin. Later it was installed at Gowda Saraswat Brahmin Temple, Mr. Narayanan pointed out.

“The findings indicate the need for more excavations at Mathilakam and Kodungallur area. The Mahodayapuram (Kodungallur’s old name) was the capital of Chera dynasty. Though some excavations were carried out in 1970, there was no follow up. The place where the huge Jain temple existed in Mathilakam is now a populated area. Modern methods should be used for research now,” he added. The State Archaeology Department had conducted a field survey recently in the area. Many historically important materials, including the stone inscription, was found from the area. They are kept at camp house of the archaeology department. The excavations will be started in September, according to Excavation Assistant Mohana Chandran.