In a written reply to DMK MP Kanimozhi, the Union Culture and Tourism Minister Dr Mahesh Sharma has said that the samples collected at an excavation at Keezhadi are over 2000 years old. This was determined after carbon dating was done by experts in the U.S, the letter states, reports TNIE.
Keezhadi in Sivaganga district was chosen for excavation and artefacts unearthed by the ASI in the second phase of the excavation at Pallichanthai Thidal of Keezhadi. It revealed that an ancient civilisation had thrived on the banks of the Vaigai.
In February 2017, carbon dating of charcoal found at the Keezhadi site reportedly revealed that the settlement there belonged to 200 BC. The excavations proved an often contended historical belief, that urban civilisation had existed in Tamil Nadu since the Sangam age.
"Radiocarbon dating suggests that these samples are 2,160 and 2,200 years old," said Mahesh Sharma, as per reports.
The DMK MP had wanted to know if the the artefacts unearthed at Keezhadi had been sent for carbon testing and if yes, what the examination had revealed.
The project has also seen its fair share of controversies with two key archaeologists transferred at a crucial juncture, when the third phase of excavation was set to begin. Even the approval for further work and funding was reportedly sanctioned late. The approval, which was supposed to come in October last year, only came in February.
It is alleged that this was due to the Central Government's reluctance to let the project continue. It had evoked widespread criticism from political parties, writers and film personalities in Tamil Nadu.