For several years, experts had surmised that the archaeological site at Keezhadi in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu dates back to the Sangam era.
Now, carbon dating has confirmed that two samples sent from the site are indeed nearly 2,200 years old.
The Keezhadi dig that started in 2013 provides archaeological evidence of ancient Tamil life that has so far been known largely from texts like Sangam literature.
While replying to DMK MP Kanimozhi in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the Union Ministry of Culture informed the Upper House that the Archaeological Survey of India had sent two carbon samples from Keezhadi for carbon dating to Beta Analytic Inc., Florida, USA.
“Radio Carbon dating suggests that the samples go back to 2,160+30 years and 2,200+30 years,” stated the Ministry.
Archaeologists found deposits up to 4.5 metres deep and the samples (of carbon elements) sent for carbon dating were from the middle part – i.e. 2 metres, says ASI’s Superintending Archaeologist K. Amarnath Ramakrishna in Guwahati who led the excavations in Keezhadi earlier.
“We can now say for sure that the samples were from 3rd century BC,” says Mr. Ramakrishna.
Unlike many other archaeological sites excavated in Tamil Nadu, Keezhadi is a major habitation site.
“The last time habitation sites were excavated in Tamil Nadu was at Arikamedu. We zeroed in on Keezhadi after studying both banks of Vaigai river through its entire stretch from Western Ghats till the point it reaches the Bay of Bengal,” he says.
A total of 72 potsherds with Tamil Brahmi script were found at Keezhadi which had several Tamil names.
“ Iyanan, Uthiran, Vendhan, Santhanavathi and Saathan were some of the Tamil names found,” he says. When asked whether the Archaeological Survey of India was planning to set up any museum at Keezhadi, Superintending Archaeologist of Chennai Circle A.M.V. Subramanyam said such policy decisions have to be taken at New Delhi.