Monday, June 22, 2009

Tamil Nadu Dig Reveals Iron Age Finds

From The Monday, June 22, 2009 : 1905 Hrs Iron Age graveyard unearthed in Tamil Nadu Dindigul (PTI): A glass bead-making unit and an Iron Age graveyard, both about 2,500 years old, have been unearthed during the ongoing excavation in and around Porunthal, 12-km from here, an archaeology expert said. The excavation made at Paasi Medu (bead mound) venue, a site spread over 5.5 hectares on the ancient East-West Trade route linking Tamil Nadu and Kerala, revealed presence of a glass bead manufacturing unit, Prof K Rajan, Archaeology Department, University of Pondicherry, told reporters at Palani near here on Sunday. They also recovered thousands of beads in various colours including red, white, black, yellow, maroon and green from the site along with 30 identical redware bowls, triangular terracotta pieces and two furnaces. This could have been the place where glass beads had been manufactured in ancient Tamil Nadu, he said. "We feel that this place might have been a glass bead manufacturing factory. It should be around 2,500 years old," said former archaeology professor Shanmugam. The 'Indo-Pacific' beads could have been exported through Musiripattinam in Thrissur district of Kerala. The glass unit was the first such found in India, Mr. Rajan said. "We recovered only slightly damaged beads," he said. The study of the site revealed Porunthal had been a trade centre. A statue of a bull was yet another finding. A first Century AD Terracotta figurine of a male had also been unearthed besides ivory dice, earrings and copper coin. [Parts from a board game, perhaps? Photos - we need photos!] The team doing research at the site included students and professors from Puducherry University, Tamil University, Mangalore University and Srivenkateswara University. They found several iron age burials at the foothills of the Westerghats near Chinna Gandhipuram. The graves found at the site had been fenced by boulders. Archaeology officials said these cist burials were of simple nature. A burial with 12.5-metre-diametre revealed the rich culture of the people of the area. There were two decks and two port holes in the bicameral cist. About 3,000 beads of semi-precious stones were also recovered around the skeletal remains. The findings suggest that people could have performed some ritual for the dead, they said. From near the burials, mud pots of red, black and shining black were also found.

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