News

KEELADI EXCAVATIONS

Written by Talent KAS

Related Topics: Art & Culture, Sangam Age

News

  • Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD) has stated that the cultural deposits unearthed during excavations at Keeladi in Sivaganga district could be safely dated to a period between 6th century BCE and 1st century CE.
  • The report titled, ‘Keeladi-An Urban Settlement of Sangam Age on the Banks of River Vaigai’, was published by the TNAD.

Findings of the Report

  • Second urbanisation [the first being Indus] of Vaigai plains happened in Tamil Nadu around 6th century BCE as it happened in Gangetic plains.
  • Keeladi findings push back the date of Tamil-Brahmi script to another century, i.e., 6th century BCE.
  • The society in Keeladi had used animals predominantly for agricultural purposes.
  • They attained literacy or learned the art of writing as early as 6th century BCE.

Study of samples and specimens

  • Six carbon samples collected from the fourth season (2018) of excavations at Keeladi were sent to Beta Analytic Lab, Miami, Florida, U.S., for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) dating.
  • Skeletal fragments were sent to Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute in Pune, and it was found that fragments were of species such as cow/ox (Bos indicus), buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), sheep (Ovis aries), goat (Capra hircus), nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and peacock (Pavo cristatus).
  • Pottery specimens from Keeladi sent to the Earth Science Department of Pisa University, Italy, through Vellore Institute of Technology for mineral analysis, confirmed that water containers and cooking vessels were shaped out of locally available raw materials.

Background

  • While three excavations were undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India, the fourth excavation was undertaken by the TNAD. The fifth excavation by the latter is under way.
  • In 2013-14, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out explorations in 293 sites along the Vaigai river valley in Theni, Dindigul, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts.
  • Keezhadi in Sivaganga district was chosen for excavation and artefacts unearthed by the ASI in the second phase of the excavation at Pallichanthai Thidal of Keezhadi pointed to an ancient civilisation that thrived on the banks of the Vaigai.
  • Carbon dating of charcoal found at the Keezhadi site in February 2017 established that the settlement there belonged to 200 BC.
  • The excavations proved that urban civilisation had existed in Tamil Nadu since the Sangam age.

[Source: The Hindu]

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