A group of experts, led by R. Jayangonda Perumal, an associate professor of Central University of Tamil Nadu, along with the Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology (TNSDA), undertook a geological investigation at Keeladi and Agaram sites on Friday, where the sixth phase of archaeological excavations are currently under way.
Deputy Director of Archaeology R. Sivanandam said that this was the first time that geological investigations are undertaken at archaeological excavation sites in the State. “After completing the Keeladi cluster, similar geological investigations in other excavation sites across the State will also be undertaken,” he said.
During the excavation at Keeladi, various layers with different soil textures and colours were identified, said Mr. Sivanandam. “This prompted us to do a geological study to understand the kind of civilisation that existed earlier,” he added.
Mr. Perumal said that geological investigation helps to identify the duration of the civilisation that had existed in these sites. “The Keeladi civilisation has existed on the banks of Vaigai river. So, we checked sediments that are present along the river and compared them with those present in the excavation sites,” he said.
Soil samples, broken pot shreds and charcoal samples are taken to undertake the investigation. In Keeladi, trenches for a depth of 4.5 metres have been dug up and in Agaram trenches for a depth of 6 metres are dug up, he said.
“By carrying out a geological investigation, we are trying to find out how climate change affected the civilisation that time. For instance, it helps to understand if there was a flood or drought that time. Basically, we need to understand if the matured civilisation in Keeladi vanished or moved to another place,” said Mr. Perumal.
Mr. Sivanandam said that such investigations will give scientific proof to an archaeological excavation. “This will help in better understanding and interpretation of the civilisation that existed earlier at the Keeladi cluster,” he said.
Priyanka Singh Rao, assistant professor at Central University of Tamil Nadu and Saravanan, a hydrologist, also participated in the investigation.