Keeladi Excavations

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Context: According to a report published by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD), the cultural deposits unearthed during the excavations at site Keeladi located in the Sivaganga district could be dated to a period between the 6th century BC and the 1st century AD.

Prelims: Current events of national and international importance. 
Mains: GS I- Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Major Findings: 

  • The report titled “Keeladi-An Urban Settlement of Sangam Age on the Banks of River Vaigai” that the carbon dating test confirmed the date of the Tamil-Brahmi script is dated to the year 580 BC.
  • The results suggest that the second urbanization (the first being the Indus Valley Civilization) of Vaigai plains happened in Tamil Nadu during the 6th century BC, the contemporary of which in the Gangetic plains was the Iron Age & the period of the rise of various Heterodox sects.
  • Skeletal fragments of Cow/Ox & Buffalo, Sheep & Goat, Nilgai & Blackbuck, Wild boar, and Peacock suggest that the society in Keeladi had used animals predominantly for agricultural purposes.
  • Pottery specimens from Keeladi confirmed that the water containers and cooking vessels were shaped out of locally available raw materials.
  • The recovery of spindle whorls, pinpointed bone tip tools, hanging stones of the yarn, terracotta spheres, copper needle, and earthen vessels to hold liquid, outlines the various stages of weaving industry from spinning, yarning, looming, weaving and dyeing.
  • The Keeladi findings have led academics to describe the site as part of the Vaigai Valley Civilisation. The findings have also invited comparisons with the Indus Valley Civilisation. 
  • The graffiti marks encountered in Iron Age sites of south India serve as the only residual links between the Indus Valley Civilisation and south India. Some of the symbols found in potsherds of Keeladi bear a close resemblance to Indus Valley signs. Graffiti marks are found in earthenware, caves, and rocks in or near the excavation sites of Tamil Nadu.


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