A boost to Keezhadi finds

Car­bon dat­ing vouches for its an­tiq­uity

The Hindu - - TAMIL NADU - 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.

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