Human skeleton found inside burial urn in TN excavation site
Archaeologists have discovered a full human skeleton inside an urn which they excavated from the Sivagalai archaeological site in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district. This is a first at the site where there are remnants of ancient civilisation.
“We have found evidence of second burials before but this was the first time that we discovered a primary burial,” said site excavation director, M Prabhakaran. “We found the skeleton in a lying down position like the head had been positioned to a side and the legs were folded. The skull was severely damaged so we could only collect pieces.”
Two burial urns were opened on Thursday as part of the second phase of excavations which is ongoing at the burial site as well as the habitation site. While one contained the skeleton, the other contained small bones and a red and black bowl. Experts from Madurai Kamaraj University were present when they opened to collect samples for DNA testing. The previous AIADMK regime had signed an MoU with the institution to conduct DNA testing of skeletons found across all excavation sites in Tamil Nadu including in Keeladi.
Around 40 burial urns have been found at the site so far which was taken up for excavation by the state archaeology department from 2019. The previous government had sanctioned ₹31 lakh for the project.
A history teacher is said to have drawn the state government’s attention to this site having found ancient artefacts here. In 2018, a government appointed expert confirmed that it was an ancient site. They have been able to find burial urns containing teeth, jaws and small bones, antiquities and iron tools. Initial examinations have given a sense to the team that these findings could belong to a period that is more than 3000 years old.