Controversy

Keezhadi treasures caught in a swirl

Print edition : January 20, 2017

An overview of the excavated trenches in a coconut plantation at Keezhadi with a pottery yard in the middle. Photo: ASI

A trench with a wealth of finds. At bottom left, a stone slab used perhaps to wash clothes. Next to it is a trough-like structure made of bricks and beside it on a platform is an open drain. There are also brick platforms at right and in the quadrant in the middle. In the quadrant at right is a rare double-walled furnace. K. Amarnath Ramakrishna, Superindenting Archaeologist, ASI, is standing at right. Photo: ASI

A terracotta ring well that runs deep into the ground. Photo: ASI

Array of artefacts1. Stone celts found in the trenches. These were used for sharpening tools and, according to ASI archaeologists who took part in the excavation, brought to Keezhadi from neolithic sites situated elsewhere.2. Earlobes made of terracotta.3. Circular and square Chola- and Pandya-period coins.4. Earlobes made of ivory.5. Chess games made of ivory.6. A copper-antimony rod and a ring, bangles and beads made of copper.7. Arrowheads made of iron and bone.8. Tiny bi-conical gold beads.9. Iron implements such as forceps/thongs, nails, spearheads, knives, daggers, arrowheads and celts. These finds show that Keezhadi was originally an Iron Age site that metamorphosed into a Tamil Sangam Age site. Photo: ASI

A series of circular furnaces. Photo: ASI

A beautiful storage pot carved with designs found in a trench. Photo: ASI

A terracotta drain pipe found broken at two places. Three types of drains were found in the excavation: open drains lined with bricks, closed drains boxed with bricks, and terracotta pipe drains. Some of the drains led to soak jars, indicating the use of advanced sanitation methods. Photo: ASI

The Archaeological Survey of India’s decision to shift Sangam-age artefacts excavated at Keezhadi to its office in Bengaluru faces stiff opposition in Tamil Nadu, and with no means to store them at the site the ASI gets the High Court’s permission to move them to Dehradun. Text

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