Keeladi Findings

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    • Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has presented a report on the findings at the Sangam-era site of Keeladi and their significance.

    About

    • Keeladi is a village in south Tamil Nadu along the Vaigai river near the temple city of Madurai

    Findings:

    • In the eight rounds of excavations, over 18,000 artifacts have been unearthed from the site. 
      • Over 120 potsherds containing Tamil Brahmi inscriptions have been found.
      • Spindle whorls, copper needles, terracotta seal, hanging stones of the yarn, terracotta spheres and earthen vessels to hold liquid suggest various stages of a weaving industry
      • Gold ornaments, copper articles, semi-precious stones, shell bangles, ivory bangles and ivory combs reflect the artistic, culturally rich and prosperous lifestyle of the Keeladi people

    Significance of findings 

    • Keeladi and Sangam age:
      • Keeladi’s excavations from 2015 prove that an urban civilisation existed in Tamil Nadu in the Sangam age on the banks of the Vaigai river.
      • The unearthed artifacts from Keeladi belong to a period between sixth century BCE and first century BCE.These  findings pushed the Sangam age to 800 BCE .
      • Keeladi  adds to the credibility of Sangam Literature.
    • Keeladi and IVC:
      • The unearthed Keeladi artifacts have led to conclusion that the site is a  part of the Vaigai Valley Civilisation
      • some of the symbols found in pot sherds of Keeladi bear a close resemblance to signs of Indus Valley 

    • Academics while acknowledging the cultural gap of 1,000 years between the two places, hope that further excavations give a clearer picture about the south indian iron age  that currently  links both.

    Archaeological Survey of India:

    • The ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the country.
    • It functions under the Ministry of Culture.
    • The prime objection of ASI is to maintain the archaeological sites, ancient monuments, and remains of national importance.
    • It regulates all archaeological activities as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
    • It also regulates the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

    Sangam Age

    • The area lying to the south of river Krishna and Tungabhadra experienced  a period between the 3rd century B.C. and 3rd century A.D. known as the Sangam Period.
    • It has been named after the gathering of poets (Sangam) held during that period under the royal patronage of the Pandya kings of Madurai.
    • The sources for this age are largely literary, though archaeological evidence has started to come up.
    • Kharavela’s Hatigumpha inscription (155 BCE) provides the earliest epigraphic evidence referring to a confederacy of Tamil states.

    Vaigai River

    • It originates in the Western Ghats (Varushanad Hills).
    • It travels through the Pandya Nadu region of Tamil Nadu.
    • Its main tributaries are Suruliyaru, Mullaiyaru, Varaganadhi, Manjalaru, Kottagudi, Kridhumaal and Upparu.
    • The Vaigai  finally empties into the Palk Strait near the Pamban Bridge in Ramanathapuram district.

    Source: TH