In 2013-14, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out explorations in 293 sites along the Vaigai river valley in Theni, Dindigul, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts. Keezhadi in Sivaganga district was chosen for excavation and artefacts unearthed by the ASI in the second phase of the excavation at Pallichanthai Thidal of Keezhadi pointed to an ancient civilisation that thrived on the banks of the Vaigai.
Carbon dating of charcoal found at the Keezhadi site in February 2017 established that the settlement there belonged to 200 BC. The excavations thus proved that urban civilisation had existed in Tamil Nadu since the Sangam age.
A beautifully crafted earthen pot with leaf decoration was unearthed at Archaeological Survey of India’s excavation site at Keezhadi near here on Thursday, adding to a repository of evidence pointing to the existence of an urban habitation closer to the erstwhile capital of Pandya kingdom.
The exquisitely crafted pot, measuring 72 cm in width and 42 cm in height, was found by an ASI team led by K. Amarnath Ramakrishna, Superintending Archaeologist.
“This is for the first time such a decorative pot has been found in a habitation site in Tamil Nadu during excavation,” says Mr. Amarnath. The storage pot contains pure river sand but its actual use could not be fixed immediately.
Two similar pots of different shapes have started to emerge in two other pits of the excavation site. The huge red pot, which is among a variety of earthenware discovered in the area, was found embedded alongside a water storage facility.
Noted epigraphist V. Vedachalam says that the kind of antiquities found at the site, ‘Pallichandai Thidal,’ reaffirm the belief that nestled among three ancient places — Konthagai, Keezhadi and Manalur — was an urban settlement that had trade links with North India and the western world during the Sangam Age. References to Manalur are found in Tiruvilayadalpuranam. During a later period, Konthagai and Keezhadi were merged as Kuntidevi Chaturvedimangalam and gifted to Brahmins.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Tuesday refused to commit a time period within which it would begin the next phase of excavation at Pallichanthai Thidal at Keezhadi in Sivaganga district. The excavations conducted so far on just one out of 100 acres of identified land at the spot had led to discovery of 4,125 artefacts pointing to the existence of an ancient Tamil civilisation that could have thrived on the banks of Vaigai.
The State government has also evinced interest in setting up a site museum at Keezhadi to display the 5,300 antiquities that have been unearthed so far and has even offered to allot 72 cents of land for the same.