There are no plans, at present, to declare the “Keeladi” site in Tamil Nadu a ‘Protected Monument.’ This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, Mr Prahlad Singh in the Loksabha in a written reply. The Minister also said that the excavation at Keeladi will continue and the area of excavation will also be expanded. The area currently being excavated is spread over 80 acres with a 3.5 km radius.
The Minister also said that the State Government of Tamil Nadu is setting up a museum near Keeladi. The museum will display the exhibits as the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department has come out with findings that bore the testimony to the early ‘Sangam Age’ of urban civilization of Tamils.
Keeladi excavation site is a Sangam period settlement that is being excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India and the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department. The first three phases of excavation at Keeladi were conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India while the fourth and fifth phases were conducted by the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department. The samples taken from the excavation site for carbon dating have revealed that they are 2,200-2,600 years old. “The results suggest that the urbanization of Vaigai plains happened in Tamil Nadu around 6th century BCE as happened in Gangetic plains,” says a report published by the TN government.
The excavation has revealed that structural engineering during that time was quite advanced. “The well-laid floors, made of fine clay, along with roof tiles in collapsed state. It seems, wooden poles were planted over which roof was erected, the occurrence of iron nails give clues of festering the poles and rafters. The roof tiles contained finger groove impressions meant to drain water and double holes at the top to be tied with rafters. Such structural activities express the high standards of living during the Sangam Age,” says the report.