MADURAI:Superintending Archaeologist P S Sriraman’s claim that the Keezhadi excavations has so far not yielded any significant discoveries this season has sparked diverse opinions among archaeologists and public.Addressing the media at the excavation site on Sunday, the newly appointed Superintending Archaeologist, Excavations Branch (Bangalore), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Sriraman said that there was no connection between Keezhadi and the Indus Valley Civilization. He noted that with the available artefacts taken from the site, it cannot be concluded that traders lived in the area. He also said that it was too premature to draw such a conclusion at this time.
Responding to this, Su Venkadesan, writer and Sahitya Akademi Award winner, said that during the last few seasons, at the same site, the archaeologists had discovered a structure with a factory-like set up, proceeding towards the south. However, this season the excavation proceeded towards the north rather than the south. “This season, they should be digging more trenches in various places. Instead, ten trenches were dug in a single place alone. There were no progressive steps taken this season,” he claimed.
Agreeing that there might have been a factory at the site, archaeologist C Santhalingam said that during the excavation they found beads at the site. “It might have been a beads factory. They also found cups which may have been used to keep the beads. Sriraman has a right to his viewpoint,” he said.
Santhalingam further said that the results of the carbon dating of charcoal excavated from Keezhadi indicated that the settlement belonged to 200 BC. He also believed that there might not be any connection between the Indus Valley Civilization and Keezhadi. It may be noted that in the two phases of excavation in 2015 and 2016, as many as 5,800 artefacts were unearthed from the site.
Another archaeologist, requesting anonymity, said that the process of digging might have proceeded towards the south but that it might not have been possible due to the location, which is in a coconut grove. “If we dig by uprooting the coconuts tree then it will be termed as a ‘distributed site’ because during the rooting of coconut trees, people might shuffle the soil in the place,” the archaeologist observed. He also added that the people wanted the next season of the excavation to happen, which might throw light on the Vaigai river civilisation.
Sriraman said, the next season of the excavation has to be decided by the committee of Central Advisory Board of Archaeology. He also stated that he would be sending an interim report in two months.