Home | TNPSC Micro Topics | Keeladi Excavation – Urbanization in Tamil Nadu around 6th Century BCE

Keeladi Excavation – Urbanization in Tamil Nadu around 6th Century BCE

Salient features of the Report on 4th Season of Keeladi Excavations by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Tamil Nadu:

  • The six carbon samples collected from the fourth season (2018) of excavations at Keeladi were sent to Beta Analytic Lab at Miami, Florida, USA for AMS dating and the reports have been received.
  • The Report reveals that the sample collected at the depth of 353cm goes back to 580 BCE .


  • Potsherds inscribed with Tamil-Brahmi script have been unearthed.
  • One of these dated to 580 BCE indicates the high literacy level of Tamil people by sixth century BCE


  • The Post-graduate and Research Institute, Deccan College, Pune, based on its lab test of 70 samples of animal skeletal fragments, collected from Keeladi, has reported that the species such as Cow/Ox (Bos indicus), Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), Sheep (Ovis aries), Goat (Capra hircus), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), Wild boar (Sus scrofa) and Peacock (Pavo cristatus) were identified.


  • The bricks unearthed in Keeladi excavations are similar in sizes to that of other excavated sites of the Sangam Age with the ratio of 1:4:6.
  • This reveals that the Tamils had mastery of the construction technology.


  • Discovery of 180 spindle whorls, 20 sharpened bone tips (used in pre-historic times as needle to make designs on clothes), hanging loom weights, made of stone or baked clay, copper needle, reveals the engagement of people in cloth making at different stages of spinning, warping, weaving and dyeing.


  • Excavation has brought to light beads of agate and carnelian.
  • The raw materials for the making of these beads could have been probably brought from North West India through Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • In uniqueness red earthenware unearthed in Keeladi are akin to Arretineware used in Rome in 2nd century BCE.


  • The occurrence of gold ornaments(seven pieces), and copper objects in bits and pieces, beads of semi precious stones and glass, bangles and combs made of ivory and shell, indicates the cultural richness and economic prosperity in the region.
  • The beads accounting to 4,429 include beads of glass, paste, quartz, faience, agate, carnelian and terracotta.


  • Iron nails and parts of knives have also been located


  • Figurines made of terracotta representing human beings(13), animals(3) gamesmen (chessman) and toys (600) and ear ornaments (28) have been found.


  • The occurrence of artefacts such as dice, hopscotches and gamesmen, really reflects the lifestyles and the pastime activities of the ancient people.
  • The flat portions of the potsherds were generally grounded and the edges were smoothened to bring a round shape locally called ‘sillu’.
  • They were used by children as game pieces.

Keeladi Excavation on the banks of Vaigai river clearly suggests that urbanization happened in Tamil Nadu too around 6th century BCE as found in Gangetic plains.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *