What were the Major Archeological Findings from Keeladi Excavation 2021?

Keeladi is one of the major excavation sites located 12 km southeast of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The latest findings by the state archaeology department proved to be a heritage bonanza for those who had been working in the excavation site, proving that a pre-Sangam era existed in the state. The recent results have been not only encouraging, but also eye-opening in terms of changing the interpretation of civilization. The Sangam age, also known as the Golden Age, dates back more than 300 years.

B Chandramohan, the secretary of Tourism, culture, and religious endowments said that the Keeladi discovery confirms the presence of civilization in TN dating back to 580 BC along the river banks of Vaigai in Sivaganga district. The river Vaigai runs 2 kilometers to the north of this cultural mound, and the seventh phase of Keeladi excavation began on February 13, 2021. According to the top official, the recent discoveries include playthings such as hopscotches, dice, gamesman, weaver’s tools such as spindle whorls, simple ornamentations such as terracotta beads, ear ornaments, and bangles made of glasses and shell, and micro glass beads, and lavish ornamentations such as semi-precious stone beads and a golden wire.

The archaeological collections at Keeladi are expanding, and recently acquired a collection which includes a unique specimen of weighing stone made of beryl, hemispherical in shape with a flat base, weighing less than 1 gram. According to a government press release, a double roped design terracotta ring was traced on July 5 in the fourth quadrant of the trench at a depth of 1.26 m revealed a terracotta ring of diameter 77 cm, height 44 cm, and thickness 3 cm with two embossed rope decorations on the exterior as a decorative feature. Two more terracotta rings were discovered during the excavation process.

There are lot of excavation projects happening around many sites in Tamil Nadu. The Archaeology department is currently conducting seven systematic archaeological excavations in sites such as Keeladi and its clusters in Sivaganga District, Kodumanal in Erode District, Gangaikondacholapuram in Ariyalur District, Sivagalai, Adichanallur, and Korkai in Thoothukudi District, and Mylamdumparai in Krishnagiri District. Keeladi is a Sangam-era urban settlement on the banks of the Vaigai River which is located southeast of historical Madurai. The only site with more historical significance excavated by a state archaeological department is Keeladi, which has a cultural deposit spanning more than 110 acres. The Archaeological Survey of India excavates the majority of India’s ancient sites. Currently the state government is looking for the tourism potentiality of this archeological site.

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