For the first time, an adult-sized human skeleton has been unearthed by archaeologists at a trench in Konthagai that comes under the Keezhadi cluster of villages. This is the same site from which five children-sized human skeletons were found earlier.
Work is in progress to fully expose the new skeleton, that is understood to a male from the size of its forehead, and which measures 183 cm in length and 35 cm in breadth. When completed, it will be sent to Madurai Kamaraj University for DNA analysis. According to reports, the skeleton of the adult was found in close proximity to the ones unearthed earlier. So far, findings have indicated that Konthagai was most probably a burial site. Findings from Keezhadi, on the other hand, have indicated that the site was an industrial site where trading activities took place.
The sixth phase of excavation that began on February 19 this year at four villages - Keezhadi, Kondhagai, Manalur and Agaram - has led to exciting discoveries so far. Quite recently, a terracotta ringwell was unearthed at Manalur. Previously, a 17th century gold coin weighing about 300 mg was found at Agaram and a little later, four weighing stones made of basalt were unearthed between June 20 and July 3. Earlier in June, skeletal remains of a child were excavated for the first time from Konthagai.
On July 20, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami laid the foundation stone, via video conferencing, for a museum at Konthagai. This museum, when completed, will showcase the artefacts unearthed from Keezhadi and neighbouring sites.
While the first three phases of the excavations were carried out by Archaeological Survey of India, the fourth and fifth phases were done by the Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology. The sixth phase, which is expected to go on till September is also being done by the state Archaeology department.
The Keezhadi excavation site is an early human settlement, which dates back to the Sangam period. It is located in Sivaganga district, close to Madurai and on the bank of the Vaigai river. Findings from the site are seen as reflection of the lives of Tamil people who live in the settlement. The artefacts have been dated back to as far as fifth century BC. A study which began in 2013, identified Keezhadi as one of locations with archaeological residues.