The sixth phase of the excavation in Keezhadi will begin later in January, according to a report in The Hindu. The Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu has also tied up with educational institutions for assistance during and after the process.
As per the report, the excavations will be carried out along with explorations in other nearby sites like Agaram, Konthagai and Manalur. The department has also received permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to excavate other sites of importance, like Kodumanal (Erode district), Sivagalai and Adichanallur (Thoothukudi district), which will be done simultaneously along with Keezhadi’s sixth phase.
The department also plans to document the process extensively this time using photographs and videos and is already carrying out a preliminary survey of all the sites using drones. As a part of its collaborations with educational institutions, the department has tied up with Madurai Kamaraj University’s School of Biological Sciences for conducting DNA analysis on the findings and with National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bengaluru for metallurgical studies of the artefacts unearthed during the excavations. The other institutes roped in by the department to conduct various studies on the excavated items include French Institute of Pondicherry and Pune’s Deccan College.
The fifth phase of excavation in Keezhadi ended in October 2019 and over 900 artefacts were unearthed by the experts in that phase. Archaeologists dug up 51 trenches for the fifth phase of excavation, which lasted four months. Towards the end of the fifth phase of excavation, the state archaeological department released a report which stated that there might be a possible link between the scripts of Indus Valley Civilisation and the Tamil Brahmi script, a precursor to the modern Tamil script. Another landmark discovery that was reported during the fifth phase from Keezhadi was the existence of an urban civilisation on the riverbed of Vaigai that was contemporary to the Gangetic plain civilisation in the north.
The discovery is deemed crucial because it has long been speculated that people from the Indus Valley Civilisation might have moved down south around 1500 BCE (before common era) after their civilisation collapsed. The script used by its people was called the Indus script and experts have speculated for a long time that language used by the people in Indus Valley Civilisation could be Dravidian. The discoveries from Keezhadi during the fifth phase showed a possible link between the two cultures.