CHENNAI: An archaeological expedition in a village in Chengalpattu district has thrown light on how people lived there during the Iron Age, and how the village served as a transit point for offshore and inland traders.
Recent excavations at Nerumbur village by a team of students led by Dr J Soundararajan, head of the Department of Archaeology (in-charge), University of Madras (UoM), led to unearthing of historically and archaeologically significant antiques.
Among them are black and red pottery/potsherds, broken pieces of pottery identified as conical jars/amphora (imitated variety), roulette ware potsherds, terracotta figurine pieces, a grinding wheel, glass and quartz beads, glass and iron slag, iron objects such as fish hooks, and pieces of copper.
“It could be concluded that this site was initially occupied by people in the Iron Age, and was occupied for a long time during the Early Historic period. Potsherds from the Early Medieval period, and imitated varieties of amphorae, were found in the upper levels of the trench,” said Soundararajan.
The finding of imitated varieties of black and red ware amphorae from the Early Medieval period is significant as such artefacts haven’t been found anywhere else in India, he said, adding that original ware of this type is from Rome. The cultural deposits indicate that people from the Early Medieval period too occupied the site.
The antiques have also thrown light on the offshore and inland commercial activity of the area since the village is on the banks of the Palar. “The river made inland water transport possible. Traders ferried cargo during the day, and rested at night. Nerumbur served as a transit hub,” Soundararajan said.
This is also known through inscriptional, manuscript and other documentary and material evidence. The village is also near the historical sites of Vayalur and Vasavasamudram.