NEW DELHI – A 3,500-year-old stone ax engraved with an ancient northern Indian script found in the country's south could establish a closer historical link between the distinctive regions, an archaeologist said Monday.
The ax was found by a schoolteacher, V. Shanmuganathan, in a mangrove forest in a village in the southern Tamil Nadu state in February, said T. S. Sridhar, commissioner of the state's archaeology department.
The polished hand-held stone ax has four seals on it that are written in a script used around 1,500 B.C. in the Indus Valley in northern India, Sridhar told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.
The presence of the script on the ax is a strong indication that the Neolithic Aryan people of northern India penetrated much father south than previously believed.
"It shows that there has been a link between south of India and the rest of the country," Sridhar said.
The find is "the greatest archaeological discovery (in) a century in Tamil Nadu state," said Iravatham Mahadevan, an expert on the Indus script who is not connected with the find.
He was quoted in The Hindu newspaper.