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Chera, Chola, Pandya: Using Archaeological Evidence to Identify the Tamil Kingdoms of Early Historic South India

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Title: Chera, Chola, Pandya: Using Archaeological Evidence to Identify the Tamil Kingdoms of Early Historic South India
Authors: Abraham, Shinu A.
Keywords: South Asia
South India
Tamilakam
Kerala
Tamil Nadu
show 2 morehistory and archaeology
cultural-ethnic identity

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LC Subject Headings: Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Oceania--Antiquities--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation: Abraham, S. A. 2003. Chera, Chola, Pandya: Using Archaeological Evidence to Identify the Tamil Kingdoms of Early Historic South India. Asian Perspectives 42 (2): 207-23.
Series/Report no.: Volume 42
Number 2
Abstract: For the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the most important documentary source for information on early South lndian culture is a body of prose poetry known as the Sangam anthology. These indigenous texts date to the first few centuries A.D. and comprise the earliest extant examples of Tamil literature. Not surprisingly, this is also the period to which can be traced the first indications of the concept of a "Tamil" identity in South India. Archaeologically, the Tamil Sangam era corresponds roughly to the late Iron Age-Early Historic period (c. 300 B.C. to A.D. 300), which represents a key stage in the development of South Indian material culture. Prevailing analyses of early Tamil society have relied heavily on the historical texts, often at the expense of critically examining the material culture from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This study examines the relationship between South Indian archaeology and history and argues that any framework for interpreting early Tamil identity must acknowledge the important qualitative differences in the ways that texts and artiĀ£1cts construct and reflect ethnic identity, and that archaeologists and historians must analyze their respective data sets within the larger social, political, and economic practices of early Tamilakam. KEYWORDS: South Asia, South India, Tamilakam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, history and archaeology, cultural-ethnic identity.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/17189
ISSN: 1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections:Asian Perspectives, 2003 - Volume 42, Number 2 (Fall)



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