A recent finding in Tamilnadu puts the date of Tamil Brahmi script at 3rd Century BC, that is before Ashoka and along with the times of Nandas. Popular linguistic scholars do not accept this time. But a verse in Aga nanuru mentioned Nanda kings and how Tamils had gone to their kingdom in Pataliputhra. Since the issue is on written script, how would they interpret the existence of this verse – in oral form or written form?
பல்புகழ் நிறைந்த வெல்போர் நந்தர்
சீர்மிகு பாடலிக் குழீஇக், கங்கை
நீர்முதற் கரந்த நிதியம் கொல்லோ?
Did the Tamil-Brahmi script originate in the post-Asokan period, that is, after the 3rd century BCE, or is it pre-Asokan? A cist-burial excavated in 2009 at Porunthal village, on the foothills of the Western Ghats, 12 km from Palani in Tamil Nadu, has reignited this debate because of the spectacular variety of grave goods it contained.
One of the two underground chambers of the grave was remarkable for the richness of its goods: a skull and skeletal bones, a four-legged jar with two kg of paddy inside, two ring-stands inscribed with the same Tamil-Brahmi script reading “va-y-ra” (meaning diamond) and a symbol of a gem with a thread passing through it, 7,500 beads made of carnelian, steatite, quartz and agate, three pairs of iron stirrups, iron swords, knives, four-legged jars of heights ranging from few centimetres to one metre, urns, vases, plates and bowls. It was obviously a grave that belonged to a chieftain ( The Hindu , June 28, 2009 and Frontline , October 8, 2010).