The Hindu

A boost to Keezhadi finds

Carbon dating vouches for its antiquity

- B. Kolappan

Carbon dating of charcoal found at the Keezhadi excavation site in Sivaganga district has establishe­d that the settlement there belonged to 200 BC, according to K. Amarnath Ramakrishn­a, Superinten­ding Archaeolog­ist (Excavation Branch, Bengaluru).

The excavation­s have thus proved that urban civilisati­on had existed in Tamil Nadu since Sangam age. “So far there has been an impression that urban civilisati­on did not exist in Tamil Nadu. The excavation­s and carbon dating have disproved the opinion,” said Mr. Ramakrishn­a, who is heading the excavation project in Keezhadi.

Carbon dating was done at Beta Analysis, a Floridabas­ed laboratory and the report was received in the first week of February.

“It is one of the top ranking laboratori­es in the world and is rated on a par with Arizona Radiocarbo­n Dating Lab. We sent only two samples and the report has been sent to the Archaeolog­ical Survey of India (ASI). We still have kept 20 more samples for carbon dating,” Mr. Ramakrishn­a told The Hindu on Tuesday. Carbon dating of a single sample costs ₹50,000.

Charcoals were found in stratigrap­hical layers at the excavation site at Keezhadi. “Even though small excavation­s were done around 150 places in Tamil Nadu we could not find charcoal in those sites. The presence of carbon in organic material helps establish accurate date as it normally exists for 5,560 years,” he said.

Mr. Ramakrishn­a added that a clear picture of the civilisati­on would emerge only if carbon dating of charcoal found in various stratigrap­hical layers are tested. Archaeolog­ists have found 5,800 artefacts in Keezhadi after two years of digging. On Monday the Centre had granted permission for further excavation­s.

 ??  ?? Rich history: Archaeolog­ists have found 5,800 artefacts in Keezhadi after two years of digging.
Rich history: Archaeolog­ists have found 5,800 artefacts in Keezhadi after two years of digging.

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