Archaeological findings throw light on trade links with SEA countries

Many material found in Thailand including seals used by kings, beads, and pottery with Brahmi inscriptions were of Indian origin and these could be assigned to second-third century AD, D.Dayalan, Superintending Archaeologist, Temple Research Project, New Delhi, told PTI.

"Quite interesting among the findings is a gold plaque with Brahmi letters. The letter found on the plaque like "ti" (in looped form) is found only in (excavated material) Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh," he said.

The plaque belonged to a shipman (Naaviga which later became Navigator) Brahaspathi Sarma, name common only to South India. This was found in the ruins of a Buddhist temple in the Northern district of Wellesley (Thailand).This also proved that India had trade with the country centuries ago, he said.

Similarly the triangle head is a standard symbol found on the bull type and elephant type coins of Satvahana Rulers at Nevesa and Sannati (Thailand).The same symbols were found in Sangam coins with others such as Triangular Geometric design. A seal found near Arikamedu (in Tamil Nadu) also had depiction of this symbol, he said.

Many seals had similar Brahmi letters to those excavated in areas like in South India.In addition to seals and coins, rouletted wares of Indian origin were also found.

Contacts between India and South East Asian countries have a long history with many dimensions such as commercial, religious and cultural. "Touch Stone(Perumpatham Kal) in Temple Museum of Watkhlong Thom is ancient authentic epigraphical evidence..."

Similarly, in India, excavation at Kottapattinam (in Tamil Nadu) located on the East coast yielded many shreds of celadon produced from the Si Sachanarai Kilns of Thailand. The bowls had carved decorations and the Lotus pattern, was the most common. Large glazed and unglazed jars similar to those in Thailand were also found in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, he said.

Such impressive designs were also found in material excavated in Orissa, Dayalan said.
"X-ray diffraction analysis" of roulette wares (in Vietnam and Indonesia) also revealed that they had their origin from India..throwing light on trade with these countries.

Tiles used mostly in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu, popularly known as Chola tiles (for roofs), were found in Thailand and Malaysia. "The L shaped tiles are found in Thanjavur district even today," he said.

Carnelian beads and semi precious stones-both semi-finished and fully finished-from India were also unearthed in Thailand.

Sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses found exhibited 'unmistakable affinity' to South Indian sculptures.

The only difference was that sculptures had been made from Tuffaceous sandstone from volcanic ash.The names of Gods and Goddesses also were similar.The findings also established that Indians were among the navigators and traders who had close cultural and commercial relations with many of the South East Asian countries, he said.

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