Keeladi’s Konthagai excavation site throws up surprises, urn with many offering vessels found

For the first time, one of the two burial urns had 20 offering vessels  — the highest so far at Konthagai

September 16, 2022 07:25 pm | Updated September 17, 2022 05:25 pm IST - SIVAGANGA

Offering vessels in such varied shapes and sizes have not been excavated until now, Co-Director of Keeladi excavations M. Ramesh said.

Offering vessels in such varied shapes and sizes have not been excavated until now, Co-Director of Keeladi excavations M. Ramesh said. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Two burial urns were unearthed at Konthagai on Thursday, and one of them, for the first time, contained the highest number of offering vessels excavated at the village.

The ongoing eighth phase of the excavation is being carried out at Konthagai, which is part of the Keeladi cluster, to determine the existence of an urban civilisation in the Sangam era.

Co-Director of Keeladi excavations M. Ramesh said that this was the first time that 20 offering vessels, such as shallow bowls, lids, miniature pots and a ring stand, were found in an urn in the past three phases of excavation at Konthagai. The offering vessels, referred to as “grave goods”, are things dear to the dead which are buried along with them in a burial urn or next to it, he noted.

Offering vessels in such varied shapes and sizes have not been excavated until now, Mr. Ramesh added.

The 87-cm-tall urn was found intact at 61 cm below the ground. It contained a human skull with its mandible intact and skeletal remains. Further, eight offering vessels were found around the urn.

Adding to the list of the firsts, R. Kaviya, Archaeological Officer, said this was the first time husk was found in the offering vessels. “Testing husks with the Carbon-14 dating method would help to determine the age of the object,” she said. This is also the first time we unearthed black-slipped ware pots, she added.

Another urn was unearthed from which skull, skeletal remains and pots were retrieved. The retrieved bones were sent for ancient-DNA study, an official said.

The excavations were carried out in the presence of director of Keeladi excavations R. Sivanandam.

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