Keezhadi- Cradle of Tamil Civilization-Ep-2
Due to the “astounding” success of the first article, here is my second episode on the findings from the keezhadi site.
Above is the picture of the site, as you can see, hardly a fraction has been unearthed, with a complete civilization hidden underneath. Conservative estimates put the total time at 20–25 years to reveal the whole picture.
The location of the site makes it a moot point among debaters. Keezhadi site is located almost 100km away from the nearest coast. This proves the fact not all urban valley civilizations were near the coast. Seeds of our rich Tamil culture were sown here, what we celebrate as the pinnacle of arts and crafts had their humble beginnings here. You can draw a painting only if you knew to draw a circle and a circle from a point. The biggest burn among a certain section of people was the lack of any religious symbols or artifacts from this site. People lived together in an urban setting, in a more civilized way, sans any religion. More research needs to be completed before we conclude any connections or findings. As they say, history is always in progress.
Living with nature, a casteless society, urban living have been the pillars of this society. Archaeology is like a blind person, trying to search for an unknown item, in a dark room. You do not know what would stumble upon, and how to make the connection to the present world. Not all items would make sense in contemporary terms. It would be even ages before any sense can be distilled in them. Indus valley civilization which was discovered in the 1860s, still has its language form un-deciphered. Rosetta stone, which was the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs is missing for our Indian civilizations.
Vaigai was referred to as “Vaayai” in ancient texts. Paripadal which is one of “Ettu Thogai”(set of eight texts) talks about the river in a set of essays. This river is monsoon rain-fed and enters the ocean near azhagankulam. Madurai is dubbed the “Athens” and “Varanasi” of the south. Greek ambassador Megasthenes wrote about Madurai in 302 BCE of her splendor and Roman geographer Strabo in the book, “Periplus of Erythrean Sea” detailed how, Madurai riches in silk, pearls, and spices were draining the coffers of Rome. This helped the Pandyan kings to establish the Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple in Madurai. The great temple city finds a mention in Kautilya’s Arthashashtra, and also in the poems of Kalidasa.
Close to 5000 items have been discovered, which includes clay burnt bricks, rainwater outlet tiles, glass, iron pieces, clay earrings, etc. Fifty of these clay items had Tamil Brahmi script inscriptions in them. Charred materials were sent for carbon dating, and it was determined to be 2100 to 2500 years old. Since the digging has only started, materials from the surface have been sent, older materials tend to be at deeper levels, this civilization should definitely stamp the antiquity of Tamil culture.
Tamils had a written form of language 2500 years ago. They also knew to inscribe it in their everyday items. the fact that it was not only precious items but common household items, implying the fact that commoners were literate. Animal bones were found, more than half of them were of bull, cow, and goat. They were domesticated and used for farming activities. 80% sand and lime were used in the building materials, and lime used had a high concentration of more than 97% calcium carbonate. “It stood the test of times” has got some real meaning here.
Buildings had brick walls, wooden pillars for supporting the roof, and fixed through iron nails. They were bolted together, concealed with roof tiles and rainwater outlet done as well. Compare this with current times, we have poor materials combined with poor workmanship. Ingenious construction with available materials was used for home building, almost 2500 years ago. We are sitting on the shoulders of these giant men and women who helped us in our intelligence.
Inputs: Google, Keezhadi archaeology magazine, Wikipedia