While excavating a site linked to the Sangam Period of south India, archaeologists have unearthed remnants of a civilization in Tamil Nadu whose drainage system resembles that of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), which is over 8000 years old
Around 3000 ancient artefacts have been found from Keezhadi Pallai Sandhaipudur village in the Shivaganga district of the state.
Shivganga is close to the sea and just across Sri Lanka.
The artefacts include swords, signets, arrows, other iron and copper weapons, ornaments and scribbling nail revealing that the place was inhabited by a warring tribe who had good knowledge of technology of the time.
Artefacts found from the site.
According to the ASI, the site is over 2500 years old (more than 500 BC) and belongs to the ancient Pandiyan era.
A well at Keezhadi. G. Moorthy/The Hindu
This means that there was a flourishing Dravidan civilization at the time of the Buddha and before the advent of Haryanka Dynasty, the first large dynasty of north India founded by Bimbisara.
Ancient brick structure. R. Ashok/The Hindu
Of particular note at the Tamil Nadu site is the drainage system which is underground and laid with “baked clay pipe lines” like those found in the Harappan Civilization sites.
“The drainage system is similar to what was found in Harappan civilisation site,” ASI officials told PTI.
The site at Keezadi. K Anthony Xavier/TOI
Archaeologists believe that the settlement was on a highway taken by traders, which explains the large numbers of signets.
“It is very rare to find the constructions intact. The findings threw more light on the Sankakala Tamil civilisation”, he said.
The history of Tamil Nadu as is taught in textbooks usually begins from the Sangam era (3rd Century BC – 4th Century AD).
Before that, sometime in 3rd
century BC, the northern part of ancient Tamil Nadu was occupied by the Mauryas. Ashokan pillars also mention the first dynasties of Tamil Nadu – the Chera, Chola, Pandiyas and Satyaputra – indicating that they existed at the time.
A storage pot from the era. R.Ashok/The Hindu
The discovery of such advanced systems and artefacts point to the fact that there was possibly a greater civilization much before the start of the Sangam Period.
ASI has been digging at the site since 2015. Initial excavations had revealed Sangam Period artefacts and structures besides evidences that the Pandiyan’s had a strong trade relationship with Romans.