regarded the earlier and subsequent periods as
Vedic and Puranic worship, etc., implying that these forms had been well
established even in the Sangam age.
    The new approaches have regarded this period as one of hostility between
the hill and forest people (hunters, etc.) and people of the plains (peasants)
belonging to different eco-zones. The ecological approach to the study of the
early historic and early medieval periods has shown that the nature of
economic organisation was uneven in the early period, with evidence of
peasant organisation in the river valleys (marudam – plains). The expansion
and domination of peasant agriculture by the seventh century AD within
marudam and into other eco-zones, marked the genesis of a new agrarian
organisation of peasant societies.
    The period of transition is also viewed as one of crisis caused by the
decline of maritime trade, which was a major resource potential for the early
tribal polities of the Sangam Age, and the consequent decay of urban centres.
Hence, this period is marked by a lack of clear political and economic
configurations, a possible clash of interests among lesser chiefs, who were
aspirants to economic influence and political authority and competition
among various religious sects (brahmanical, Buddhist and Jaina) seeking
patronage and support.
Emergence of a New State System under Pallava-Pandya
Monarchies Political and economic configurations come back into sharp
focus from the sixth century AD, when a new state system emerged with the
domination of the Pallavas and Pandyas in the northern and southern regions
of Tamil Nadu (Kanchipuram and Madurai). Studies on polity and economy
have necessarily to begin from the ascendancy of these two ruling families.
Several pioneering studies, the history of this period exist but they have
concentrated on political history and incidentally, on polity, which has been
characterised as centralised and bureaucratic. They have focused much less
on economic history, except to study the institutional aspects of the land
grants such as the brahmadeya and the temple.
    In the new approaches, these institutions have been more appropriately
perceived as instruments of agrarian expansion and integration, especially
when viewed against their geographical and ecological contexts. Contrary to
the older perspectives, which treated this period as one of disjunction,
introducing an entirely new set     of political and economic structures, the