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The trial excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the location about 80km north of the ancient Shivamogga city could show that the language was in use at least seven decades earlier than believed.
A copper-plate inscription found at the site a few years ago prompted speculation on the antiquity of the Kannada language. ASI had found the copper plates and coins while rebuilding the Pranaveshwara temple at Talagunda. TOI had reported the findings on August 29, 2017.
‘Excavation to begin in next 7-10 days’
ASI had found the copper plates and coins while rebuilding the Pranaveshwara temple at Talagunda.
“Till this copper-plate inscription was found, it was believed that the Halmidi inscription, which dates back to 450 AD, was the oldest Kannada inscription. But this inscription precedes 80 years to the Halmidi script. It dates back to 370 AD,” retired superintending archaeologist of ASI TM Keshava told TOI on Sunday.
According to the ASI’s superintending archaeologist (Bengaluru circle) K Moortheswari, the “scientific clearance” (trial excavation) will begin at the excavation site in 7-10 days. “ The excavation will be done on a 7.5-acre plot at Talagunda. “The Pranaveshwara temple was in a dilapidated condition. We removed the stones and while removing the foundation stone, we found the copper plate and gold coins at a corner of the temple. The challenge is that the land selected for excavation is now in the hands of some people,” an ASI officer said.
“In 1954, the land was handed over to the ASI to carry out excavation. In absence of adequate staff, the ASI officials could not maintain the property. Later, a few land grabbers created bogus records and occupied the 7.5-acre land. Now, we are convincing them to help us out,” another ASI officer said.