The Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD) has stated that the cultural deposits unearthed during excavations at Keeladi in Sivaganga district, could be dated to a period between 6th century BCE and 1st century CE.
A report titled, ‘Keeladi-An Urban Settlement of Sangam Age on the Banks of River Vaigai’ has been published by the TNAD.
The new findings in the report placed the Keeladi artefacts about 300 years earlier than previously believed.
First three excavations were carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India, and the fourth excavation was undertaken by the TNAD.
The results suggested that the second urbanisation of the Vaigai plains happened in Tamil Nadu around 6th century BCE as it happened in the Gangetic plains.
The report now spels the site as “Keeladi” as against the erstwhile widely used Keezhadi.
This is a major turning point in the cultural historiography of the ancient Sangam Age.
Tamil Brahmi Script
Fifty-six Tamil-Brahmi inscribed potsherds were recovered from the site of excavation.
Keeladi findings fix the date of Tamil-Brahmi script at 6th century BCE.
It establishes that local people have attained literacy or learned the art of writing as early as 6th century BCE.
The Skeletal fragments of following animals found at the site were sent to Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute in Pune for analysis of their age.
cow/ox, buffalo, sheep, goat, nilgai, blackbuck, wild boar and peacock.
The society in Keeladi had used animals predominantly for agricultural purposes.
Six carbon samples collected from site were sent to Beta Analytic Lab, Miami, Florida, U.S., for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) dating.
One of the six samples collected at the depth of 353 cm and sent for carbon dating test in the U.S. “goes back to 580 BCE”.
Pottery specimens from Keeladi sent to the Earth Science Department of Pisa University, Italy, through Vellore Institute of Technology.