Keeladi - an urban settlement of Sangam age on the banks of river Vaigai. The site Keeladi with the cultural deposit extending over a vast area of more than 110 acres, amidst the palm grove, is located in Thirubuvanam Taluk, Sivaganga District, 13 km southeast of Madurai. On the northern side of this cultural mound runs the river Vaigai at a distance of 2km. The seventh phase of Keeladi excavation started on 13th February 2021.

Key findings

        Key findings in this season include play things such as dice, gamesman and hop-scotches, weaver’s tool such as spindle whorl, simple ornamentations namely terracotta beads, ear ornament, bangles made of shell and glasses and micro glass beads and lavish ornamentations like semi-precious stone beads and a golden wire.

        A unique specimen of weighing stone made of beryl, hemi-spherically shaped with flat base observed to weigh lesser than 1g was acquired. Besides terracotta seals, iron bill-hook, iron nails, small copper ring, stone axe, bone points and miniature terracotta objects were also unearthed. Likewise potsherds with graffiti marks were also recovered.

        Archaeological features such as oven alongside broken trough, multiple fully intact bowls and pots, debris of bricks, hand grooved roofing tiles with perforations, a complete small pot made of Red Slipped ware and post holes at multiple quadrants were exhumed.

Double Roped Design Terracotta Ring

        A well decorated ring-well was traced on 05.07.2021 in the fourth quadrant of the trench YP5 at a depth of 1.26 m revealed a terracotta ring of diameter 77 cm with a height of 44 cm and thickness of 3 cm containing with two embossed rope decorations on the exterior as decorative feature. The top band of decoration is observed to have been thumb pressed and just above this decoration, incised dotted designs are noticed on the south facing ring. As the exterior contains this feature similar to that of the pinched rope design, it could naturally be visible either as the top terracotta rings of the well just above the ground level. In due course of excavation, two more course of the terracotta rings were exposed and the overall height of the ring well so far traced is 84 cm. The height of second ring is 19 cm and third ring is 18 cm respectively. The rings are observed to have been interlocked within one another. It is planned to continue further digging to trace the rings beneath.

Another Ringwell exposed in Keeladi

        Yet another ring-well is noted on 15.07.2021 in the south eastern part of the quadrant YP4/1 at the depth of 411 cm. The rim of the ring-well traced is observed to have decoration. Its east-west length is 58 cm as major portion of the ring is intruding inside the southern section. Its perpendicular length from southern section is 18 cm. The thickness of the decorated rim is 3 cm.

        At present seven systematic archaeological excavations are being conducted by the Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology in the sites namely such as Keeladi and its clusters of Sivagangai District, Adichanallur, Sivagalai & Korkai of Thoothukudi District, Kodumanal  of Erode District, Gangaikondacholapuram of Ariyalur District and Mylamdumparai of Krishnagiri District under the leadership of Thiru Thangam Thennarasu Hon’ble Minister for Industries, Tamil Official Language, Tamil Culture and Archaeology Department  along  with guidance of Dr. B. Chandramohan, I.A.S., Principal Secretary to Government, Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowment Department, supervised by Prof. K Rajan, Academic and Research Advisor, State Department of Archaeology and                                    Dr. R. Sivanantham, Director of Keeladi Excavation.