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Archaeological Survey of India unearths 2,300-year-old sarcophagus in Pallavaram


Nearly 140 years after British archaeologist Alexander Rea unearthed a sarcophagus from the hillocks of Pallavaram, an identical artefact dating back by more than 2,000 years has been discovered in the same locality.

Archaeological Survey of India unearths 2,300-year-old sarcophagus in Pallavaram
The 2300-years-old sarcophagus discovered from a hillock at Pallavaram [Credit: ASI]
The near-intact clay coffin, excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in December last year establishes the existence of a megalithic culture in Pallavaram.

Superintendent archaeologist of ASI Chennai circle A M V Subramanyam told TOI that the age of the sarcophagus could be about 2,300 years. “The discovery has brought to light that the area was inhabited by people who were not nomads. They had a technology to create a sarcophagus standing on 12 legs during the 3rd century BC,” he said. ASI will perform a thermoluminescence dating to determine the exact age of the piece, he added.

The discovery was made by a team of ASI officials following directions of the Madras high court to excavate the site in the wake a litigation regarding the plight of residents in Zamin Pallavaram.

Archaeologists took a trial excavation on the foothills of the Parivettumalai hillock at Zamin Pallavaram where they chanced upon the rim of the sarcophagus at a depth of two feet under the surface. Further exploration led to the discovery of the terracotta coffin. Though the artefact was covered with redware lid, it was damaged by boulders which might have rolled down the hillock due to soil erosion. The piece is 5.6ft long and 1.5ft wide; it has a depth of 1.64ft.

Author: Yogesh Kabirdoss | Source: The Times of India [June 27, 2018]

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