Is Keeladi a Place of Magic?


I wanted to stay away from Keeladi for a few days but fate has decided otherwise!
There is a detailed article on Keeladi in Frontline written by Mr Sivanandam and Sundar Ganesan. I have given the link below.
The article says this:
“The stratigraphy of all the trenches at Keeladi from the lower level to the top level carries distinct features with the same culture. The most significant findings came from trench/quadrant YP7/4. There were three cultural layers found in this quadrant, the lowest layer being 353 cm to 200 cm below surface belonging to circa 580 BCE. The natural soil was found at 410 cm. These cultural layers are identified by archaeologists on the basis of soil deposit, soil colour, texture and the nature of the artefacts found. The middle layer being 200 cm and above was placed between the mid-third century and 1st century BCE.”

Really? Are we talking of science or magic?

Of three cultural layers, the lowest layer, according to this statement, belongs to Circa 580 BCE. What it means is that all artefacts found between the depth of 353 cm and 200 cm are also dated to Circa 580 BCE. This is either black-magic or one of the greatest breakthroughs in the science of geology and in the field of archaeology. The middle layer, on the other hand, is normal and it contains artefacts that could be between mid-third century BCE and Ist Century BCE.

Thus what the article says is that, in one magical quadrant, all objects are from the same year of 580 BCE. But from the depth of 199.99 centimetres upwards, the artefacts rearrange themselves. Also, another important point not to be missed is that there is absolutely no artefact which could be dated between 580BCE and middle of 3rd century BCE – a gap of 300 years!

I repeat.

1. 353 cm – 200 cm – artefacts dated to 580 BCE.
2. 199.99 cm upwards until the middle layer ends – artefacts could be between mid-third century BCE and Ist Century BCE
3. 300 years separate the depth of 200 cm and 199.99 cm and nothing is found which could be dated between 580 BCE and mid-third century BCE.

The comedy is not over yet!
Mr sivanandam himself classifies the cultural period in the book on Keeladi by the government. This is what he says.

“The dates of all six samples fall between the 6th century BCE and 3rd century BCE. The sample collected at the depth of 353 cm goes back to end of the 6th century BCE and another at the depth of 200 cm goes back to early 3rd century BCE. As there is a considerable deposit below the dated layer and also above the layers, the Keeladi cultural deposit could be safely dated between 6th century BCE and 1st century CE.”

“So the chronology of this site keeladi with three periods could be scientifically fixed between 6th century BCE and 11, 12th century CE. In this context, period-I represented the cultural settings of the site from 6 century BCE to 3rd century BCE. Period-II existed between 3rd century BCE and 4, 5th century CE, while the last phase, period-III constituted the finds belonging to date from 4, 5th century CE t0 11, 12th century CE. Hence period-I is the earliest phase found at the lower level of the deposit and consequently the other two over it.”

He himself says that the date of the lowest level could be fixed between 6th century BCE and 3rd century BCE. But in the article, it becomes Circa 580 BCE for one quadrant alone!

Another important point is that the article says the most significant findings came from the trench/ quadrant YP7/4. But the government’s book DOES NOT SPEAK ABOUT THIS TRENCH at all except mentioning it passing while discussing YP7/2. It looks as though the archaeologist had completely forgotten about the importance of this quadrant while writing the book, but suddenly remembered it when he jointly wrote this article.

I am writing this not with the purpose of ridiculing anybody, but out of infinite sadness that scholarship, integrity, professionalism, attention to details have all become lost arts in the world of Tamil academia.
I have nothing but absolute contempt for persons who use Keeladi for their own political or racist purposes and the nuts who foam at the mouth when the name India is mentioned. I, however, think the majority of Tamils who are interested in an unbiased, scientific approach are really waiting for a professional report on Keeladi with some semblance of logic.

I am afraid they are waiting in vain.

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