Tamil brahmin dating
According to Coningham et al., Brahmi developed before the southern spread of Ashokan missionary activities and spread across South Asia due to trade networks.However, these early instances of Brahmi were not considered to be examples of Tamil-Brahmi.
A reference to palm leaf manuscript writing is found in Nalatiyar and Purananuru mentions a hero stone that has the name of the hero etched in it.
Based on the literature analysis, Kamil Zvelebil believes writing was known to Tamil people at least from the 3rd century BCE.
The author of Tolkappiyam displays awareness of a writing system and the graphic system as he knew it corresponds with later writing systems.
Other works such as Tirukkural mentions writing using the word ezhuttu.
The evidence for pre-Ashokan dispersal comes from Sri Lanka and more recently, Tamil Nadu.
The earliest well accepted Brahmi inscriptions in South Asia are found in the citadel of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka and are dated to the 4th century BCE.
References to writing are also available in early Tamil literature.
Tolkappiyam in stanza 16 and 17 mentions dots added to consonants.
This phenomenon is not confined to the Kodumanal in Kongu Nadu but found throughout the Tamil Nadu, Kerala and in Jaffna peninsula of Sri Lanka.
The evolution and uniform adoption of this peculiar script would have taken considerable time to spread widely. Rajan, the introduction or evolution or origin of the script in Tamil Nadu might well be before the 4th century BCE due to the uniformity of the script, lack of grammatical errors and the widespread usage.
It adds several letters for sounds not found in Prakrit: ṉ ṟ ṛ ḷ.