This planet has witnessed the entry, growth and civilization of mankind at different periods of time. Where there is a supply of water, there is a chance of settlement. Most of the civilizations took place along a river coast or other water bodies as water is one of the most necessary element required for survival. Such civilizations of ancient period can be traced by doing archaeological research. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an organization dealing with the discovery of ancient artefacts and other evidences of ancient civilization, by digging up the earth.
Such findings are an asset to our generation as they reflect the way of life led by our ancestors. They are our nation’s pride which attracts attention from people worldwide. India has seen a vast range of civilizations, scientific discoveries and inventions, invasions, foreign trade and cultural modifications etc. The theory behind India’s glory can be well understood from archaeological findings ranging from metal tools and weapons to highly valuable ornaments and beyond.
South India is a home to unique traditions and customs which are dated back to several centuries. The south Indian state of Tamil Nadu has flourished highly since ages, and significantly during the era of Moovendar – Chera, Chozha and Pandya rulers.
Sangam era is the period from 4th century BC to 2nd century AD. This was a prosperous period for the region of present day Tamil Nadu, Kerala, parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Ancient artefacts dating to this period contains rich information about the rulers, their lifestyle, economy and public dwellings. The ASI has done several excavations and their discovery shed a light upon the golden sangam era.
At the excavation site
One of the recent undergoing excavation that has earned more attraction is the one at Keeladi – a village near Pallisandhai, Sivagangai District. This place, due to its proximity to Madurai, could have a link with ancient civilization. The ASI would not have expected such an amazing discovery before they started excavating.
Keeladi was chosen for excavation and currently second phase of the project is going on. Few square shaped pits are dug in private farm area and each square pit brings out several ancient artefacts. Findings so far include damaged ornaments, pottery, utensils, rusted coins, roof tile etc. Certain artefacts contain Tamil Brahmi letters or symbols, probably indicating the name of its owner. An amazing outline of a well planned urbanized city is found which made this unknown village famous. This place is believed to be inhabited by a highly civilized society, with river Vaigai as its water source.
An ancient city sleeps beneath
There are several literatures of Sangam period available even at present. They talk about their kings, common people, their economy and day to day life. A clear cut description of sangam era lifestyle is available in ancient texts but there were no solid proof to justify them, until Keeladi was excavated. The findings from the excavation site exactly matched with those textual descriptions. The area comes under the region ruled by Pandya kings. The usage of bricks, dice and other tools dating back to sangam era is overwhelming. There are several Roman artefacts which prove the existence of trade linkage with foreign countries.
More to be done
Such a wonderful discovery made India proud of its history. There are a lot more to find, to educate people and create awareness. The tools, inscriptions and coins must be preserved in a museum and the entire project findings must be documented. Swift action is required, in order to carry out such excavations successfully.