Archaeological excavators looking for remains of Muziris, an ancient port city of Pattanam in Kerala, found 18 wooden pegs that might throw light on the life and times of people who lived there several centuries ago.

The sharpened wooden pegs, ranging from 15 cm to 20 cm in length, were found at a depth of four metres, said P.J. Cherian, head of the Pattanam excavations that are conducted by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR).

“This was a surprise find as the excavation has almost reached the natural layer, that is where no human interventions are identifiable,” he said.

To determine the age of the pegs, the samples will be sent to science laboratories, including to that of Oxford University, for radiocarbon dating. On Friday, Kerala Forest Research Institute scientists examined the wood samples and botanical sediments.

Mr. Cherian said two excavation trenches produced evidence of formation of peat, a spongy layer of botanical remains deposited over a long period time. The peat formation could date back to about 25 centuries, he said.

The excavations in Pattanam, located at Vadakkekara panchayat in Ernakulam district, have attracted historians, and archaeologists, and research institutions are collaborating with the KCHR in its digs.

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