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Home > History > Ancient History > Keezhadi and Arikamedu excavations indicate that South Indian Civilization is older than 500 BCE

Keezhadi and Arikamedu excavations indicate that South Indian Civilization is older than 500 BCE

 

In recent times we have been told about the story of Keezhadi. Keezhadi has got an exciting story behind it. Archeologists had wanted to dig in Madurai. However, Madurai is like any other Indian city; settled, very expensive land, no place to obtain land for archaeology and so on. So he uses intuition and said that in ancient Madurai if the supply chains coming in, where were the highways and where is one day’s worth journey from outside of Madurai? That is where a camp might have been. Well, he went to Keezhadi and said, that’s where it might have been and he struck gold over there. Because he found an urban settlement right there in Keezhadi. Outstanding methods used by this archaeologist. And they found several artifacts over there. However, the real story is not there. The real story is, in this new site and that came out saying that they excavated up to 4.5 meters depth at Keezhadi.

However they sent samples from 2 meter depth to Florida, USA for carbon dating and they came back with a date of around 300 BCE, everybody was happy. They were happy because it fits into the common narrative beautifully and nobody questioned this. However, I scratched my head and said what on earth is this? ASI reported 4.5 meters depth of excavation and if you think that the top layer is 2017 then 2 meters down by their own carbon dating is 2200 years. Therefore every meter in depth should correspond to 1100 years by a liners scaling which means 4.5 meters should correspond to approximately 5000 years before present i.e 3000 BCE. So why would ASI only report the middle layer result? Why would they not say we found a range of artifacts from the bottom most layer to 3000 BCE to around 500 BCE? that would have been a much more honest representation of what was found. Well it is not very surprising to think what’s going on because you see in October 2017 the Tamil Nadu government took over the Keezhadi excavations and also the archaeologists involved in the Keezhadi project was transferred  out of there. So there is clearly an attempt to control the narrative coming out of Keezhadi. If people were to come out saying that Keezhadi is 3000 years old, sorry 3000 BCE, then they are in an uncomfortable position to try and explain what are we teaching our school children? Why are our school children still learning that 500 BCE is when Dravidians appeared in the record, and Vedic structure was imposed on them. So any urban settlement in south is only 300 BCE and older, they have to explain that. I believe they have taken the easy way out. I honestly hope that I am mistaken. But this is a very strong piece of date jumping out at us.

The glass factories of Arikamedu. Arikamedu is one of the most well kept secrets of Puducherry. If you go to Pondicherry and ask a rickshaw driver, please take me to Arikamedu, he’ll scratch his head. He’ll have no idea. But I was lucky to find a local living there and he happened to know where it was, and so we took off in his car and after searching for sometime. There are no roads to go there. You have to cross some fields and so on. We were able to go to Arikamedu. There is a picture of me over there. This is mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. Periplus of the Erythrean Sea is a port sailors document that says where are the trading ports for Roman sailors? In that it finds a mention. They traded in muslin and glass beads. Mortimer Wheeler, he was the first guy to excavate over here. He dated it to 100 BCE to 100 current era. He did this because he found a bust of Augustus Ceaser there and when he found a bust of Ceaser he said 30 CE. So lets put the date to 100 BCE to a 100 CE, that was the way he dated it.

Vimala Begley was one of the archaeologists from 1989-1992 and she said the date must be 200 BCE to 700 current era. Now all over the Indo-Pacific you find glass beads. If you Google for Indo-Pacific glass beads you’ll find enormous numbers of papers out there. These glass beads have been found in Japan, Koreas, China, Bali, Indonesia all of these places and they all bear the chemical signature of the factories in Arikamedu. In other words the metallurgy, sorry, the minerals used in making the silica and other things bear the signature of Arikamedu. So that’s one. So these have been dated upto 300 BCE and so on. So that gives us the cause to wonder whether it is older than what they are telling us? Well, I found this diary by Vimala Begley and she says that trench seven yielded the oldest artifact uncovered back to the 2 century BCE. We had to stop working because we were under the water table and even a large pump could not keep the water out. In other words it was not the terminus of finding artifacts that is 200 BCE, but rather a technological issue that did not allow them to go deeper. So today the ASI has covered it up once again with mud and all this. So behind me there is a wall, you see a coconut grove growing, it is under the coconut grove that Arikamedu’s remains are. You cant see that today.

Featured Image credit -> http://www.themysteriousindia.net/carbon-dating-confirms-keezhadi-site-sangam-era/

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