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Sunday, November 27, 2022

12000-year-old artefact unearthed by ASI in the outskirts of Chennai

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed artefacts belonging to four civilizations with the oldest dating back about 12000 years. The discovery was made at Oragadam located on the outskirts of Chennai.

ASI discovers artefacts of four civilizations

The ASI team has found layers of artefacts separated by thousands of years in the same pit. Hand axes, scrappers, cleavers, and choppers belonging to the Mesolithic are the most important finds from Vadakkupattu village. They were found just 75cm below the surface, along with hundreds of stone fragments. “This looks like a place where ancient people made stone tools for hunters and gatherers,” said M Kalimuthu, superintending archaeologist at ASI’s Chennai Circle.

The upper layer of the 10mX10m pit yielded Sangam-era artefacts dating back to around 2000 years. Rouletted ware, Roman amphora sherds, and glass beads unearthed bring to the fore the active trade of the region with Rome. Gold ornaments, terracotta toys, beads, pieces of bangles, potsherds and coins are the other artefacts found here. The ASI team has also found early (275 CE) to late (897 CE) Pallava sculptures and stone carvings on the surface in the surrounding area.

The former archaeologist of the State Archeology department K Sridharan stated that the discovery indicates the continuous inhabitation of the area for several thousands of years.

Vadakkupattu, a nondescript village near Oragadam, came into the limelight after an ancient burial site was discovered about a kilometre away at Guruvanmedu. The layers of prehistory and history have brought it into the archaeological limelight.

“Besides the Teri sites at Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts, Vadakkupattu is the only place in Tamil Nadu where evidence of tools of the Mesolithic period has been found. As per the typological study, the tools may have been made roughly 12,000 years ago. Carbon dating and thermoluminescence (TL) dating will reveal the exact age of the tools. It is unique to find stone tools, artefacts and ornaments belonging to four different eras in a single place,” noted ASI superintending archaeologist Kalimuthu.

Researchers concluded that the stone tools belonged to the Mesolithic period from their small size and sharpness. The Pallava-era sculptures are made of sandstones and have eroded over time. The existence of a medieval-period temple is confirmed from the vigrahas of Sri Hari Vishnu and a Shivaling unearthed by the team. Sangam-era handmade roof tiles are another significant discovery made by the ASI team.

“Once they decided to excavate Vadakkupattu, the 20-member team of surveyors, researchers and labourers looked for signs to start the process. Sand mounds and the presence of rivers Cheyyar and Palar close to the site helped them locate the probable spots. The sand mounds of Vadakkupattu were largely disturbed as the locals had dug up the topsoil (which, as the team later realised, must have destroyed some surface objects). The first set of trenches exposed some structures including roof tiles that appeared to be of the Sangam period. The team found Mesolithic stone tools and more of Sangam era artefacts in pits dug 100m away from the first dig”, reported the Times of India.

Earlier archaeological finds

Several significant discoveries have been made by ASI teams across Bharat. Thirty-nine weapons, estimated to be more than 3800 years old, were discovered in Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Mainpuri District in early June this year. The biggest monolith murti of Bhagwan Natraja has been unearthed at Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. The murti that was discovered at an ancient site located about 140 kilometres from Bhopal (15 kilometres from Ganjbasoda) is believed to be 1500 years old.

The recently created Meerut circle of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered remains identified as a Mauryan-period brick platform dating back to over 2000 years ago. What is more interesting is that the remains were lying unnoticed in the midst of the bustling city of Meerut. Moreover, this structure reportedly also holds the key to the ‘lost’ site of Ashoka Pillar from the 3rd century BCE.

A tenth-century structure resembling a small ‘Buddha Vihar’ (Buddhist Shrine-cum-Monastery) was unearthed in March last year by ASI during an excavation in the foothills of Juljul hill at Sadar block of Hazaribagh district, around 110 km from the Capital Ranchi. The Buddhist monastery is believed to be at least 900 years old.

These and many other similar discoveries highlight the possibility of the Bharatiya civilization not being confined to the Sindhu Saraswati region alone and having developed simultaneously across the Bharatiya subcontinent. This calls for intensified archaeological excavations.

It is also important to create awareness among the common masses regarding the discoveries and their significance in the Bharatiya civilization. The setting up of the largest museum of Harappan culture in Haryana is the first step toward making the public interested in archaeological discoveries and making them realise their importance.

(Featured Image Source: Times of India)

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