Keezhadi Excavation Site

On May 18, 2020

The Keezhadi village in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a deluge of curious tourists wanting to be a part of ancient history. The Archeological Society of India has been involved in explorative excavations at 293 sites along the Vaigai River’s banks since 2013.

Over 5,300 artifacts have been unearthed pointing to an ancient civilization during the Sangam era that flourished along the river’s banks between 6th BCE and 1st century CE. Some of the recovered artifacts include plain and decorated earthen pots of different sizes, inscribed ceramic shells, bones of agricultural animals and a semi-precious stone with the shape of a pig carved on to it. Carbon dating a piece of charcoal found here established an urban civilization thriving here around 200 BC. Carbon dating another sample found at a depth of 353cm takes the date further back to 580 BCE.

Also recovered were bone tools, copper needles and 56 potsherds with Tamil-Brahmi inscribed on them. These findings also ascertain that the civilization had attained literacy or the art of writing (Tamil-Brahmi script) from as far back as the 6th century BCE. Articles unearthed also suggest a strong correlation between the script of the Indus Valley civilization (which existed between 5000 BCE and 1500 BCE) and the later Tamil-Brahmi script. This suggests a connect between these two great civilizations of Indus Valley and Sangam era which has happened in the Gangetic Plains during some point in time.

There is also speculation that the Indus Valley Civilization script which originated in the north-western region could be Dravidian and is connected with the modern-day Tamil language which has its roots in Tamil-Brahmi script. Some other antiquities found here also suggest that the Sangam era civilization had trade links with northern India and the western world.

With growing interest at this site, the state government is contemplating setting up a museum at Keezhadi to house the numerous artifacts found here and talks are still going on. Over 12,000 people visit during the weekends and around 2000-3000 during the weekdays. Filming and photography of the site by unidentified drones is also going on.

If you are interested in Indian history, culture and archeology, then Keezhadi is the right destination for you. It’s well connected by highways with railway connection at nearby Karaikudi and an airport in Neighboring Trichy. You could stay over at the magnificent Chidambara Vilas hotel which is a renovated palace in nearby Pudukkottai, and enjoy the true heritage flavors of the famous Chettinad region while you are at it.