Keezhadi excavation leads to ancient civilisation on the banks of Vaigai

Keezhadi excavation: what was found and what they mean

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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 thus proved that urban civilisation had existed in Tamil Nadu since the Sangam age.

The excavation at Keezhadi has been carried out at two localities in the farm. “Both the places have yielded different items and we presume they represent a social hierarchy,” said Amarnath who was until recently working at the site. The bigger of the two locations with more number of trenches is said to be a settlement of educated rich people, as many jewellery, fine game stones, semi-precious stones and a dozen Tamil Brahmi inscriptions have been found. Beads of agate, Carnelian and quartz indicate that they had trade link with countries like Rome. The Tamil Brahmi letters found on pottery is all names of individuals such as, Thisan, Aadhan and Udhiran, which are typical of Sangam Age Tamil names.

The second locality has more of graffiti on pottery, bone tools and iron weapons. the fish symbol which was both an art and as a ‘sign representing a clan, was also unearthed. Red-and-black pottery, groove tiles used for laying roofs and the typical flat brick measuring 38 centimetres are the other indications that the city unearthed belongs to the Sangam Age.

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