SIVAGANGA: Artefact of various ages unearthed from the Keezhadi archaeological site hint at the possibility that the site could have been continuously inhabited from at least sixth century BCE till date. Moreover, what is now Keezhadi and its cluster villages could have been, in the ancient past, a single settlement divided into an industrial area, a residential area and a burial ground, according to archaeologists.
Deputy Director (DD) of the Department of Archaeology R Sivanandam on Tuesday told TNIE that inhabitants of ancient Keezhadi also traded with the Romans, the Chinese, and settlements of western parts of India.
“When it comes to ancient settlements in general, breaks in habitation may occur owing to various reasons but, for Keezhadi, inhabitation continued across the centuries without any such break. Pottery from different periods unearthed from the site strengthens the theory of this continuous inhabitation of the site,” Sivanandam said. Further excavation of artefact might even push the antiquity of the Keezhadi site beyond sixth century BCE, he added.
“A 17th century CE gold coin; 4-5th century CE Roman roulette ware; 11-12th century CE Chinese celadon ware; a coin minted by the East India Company among others prove continuous human activity in the locality over the centuries,’’ he said. They also had trade relations with the northern-western India as evidenced by the finding of beads made of semi-precious stones like agate and carnelian. Raw material for making these beads -- the semi-precious stones -- could have been imported from places falling within present-day Maharashtra and Gujarat. Tools, possibly from the microlithic period, were also found there but it is too early to confirm its ancestry, he said.
Divided into sectors?
Whereas Agaram and Manalur served as residential areas, Keezhadi was an industrial area, and Kondagai a burial site; this has been proven by the findings of the Department of Archeology, Sivanandam said. “Though they (Keezhadi and cluster villages) are different villages today, they could have been a single settlement in that era,” he said.
Archaeologists had found burial urns, pit burials, and surface burials at Kondagai site, a cluster village of Keezhadi. “The surface burial and urns were found close to each other in the same trench; this poses a challenge for us to date the findings,” he said.