The gold diadem
The gold diadem

Gold Nettri Pattayam discovered at Adichanallur

According to Collector K Senthil Raj, it is a rare find in a huge urn burial and exactly suits all characteristics described by Alexander Rea in his Adichanallur excavations in 1902.

MADURAI: In yet another significant find, archaeologists stumbled upon a golden diadem, an antique ornament, during excavation in the archaeological site of Adichanallur in Srivaikuntam taluk of Thoothukudi district on Monday.

According to Collector K Senthil Raj, it is a rare find in a huge urn burial and exactly suits all characteristics described by Alexander Rea in his Adichanallur excavations in 1902. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has so far uncovered various artifacts, including long sharp iron instruments, smaller sharp arrows, copper bowls and now the discovery of golden diadem adds to its line-up, at the same urn site. This could certainly be one of the richest findings so far in recent excavations.

Citing these, the Collector lauded the efforts of T Arun Raj, Director, ASI, Tiruchy circle and his team, led by Yathish.

The Director of the ASI, when contacted, said gold diadem, which is known as Nettri Pattayam, was hailed as one of the most important archaeological discoveries around the world. The epic evidence suggests that the unshaped gold diadem, around 3.5 cm in length, was indeed used by the royal clan, who could have entered a historical record 3,000 years ago. The royal treasure was unearthed from a depth of 4.40 metre through 240m in diameter under the biggest pit at ‘C’ location, one of the three, on the southern banks of Tamirabarani River, at the excavation site. The findings indicate the importance ancestors gave to funeral services.

It could date back to the Iron Age, when descendants of ancient warrior clans could also have lived at Adichanallur, where nearly 20 iron weapons, such as spear, sword and arrowhead, were also discovered. Apart from these, four utensils made of bronze and one copper bangle were also found.

The Director told DT Next that the British archaeologist Alexander Rea, in his report documented the treasures uncovered during 1899 to 1903 with geographical features. Based on Rea’s report, a GIS mapping was done and a site plan was superimposed before uncovering the invaluable treasure. Under the first phase of excavation since October 2021, about 90 urns have been exposed in different sizes. He also hoped that more such treasures could be unearthed in adjacent places.

Works are under way to set up an on-site museum, just a km away from the excavation site in Adichanallur.

According to C Santhalingam, a Madurai based archaeologist (retired) and founder of Pandya Nadu Centre for Historical Research, gold diadem was one of the important wedding accessories in the Kongu region and used on other auspicious occasions by feudal lords.

S Bose, a retired professor, Department of History and Tourism, Srivaikuntam, said the Adichanallur pottery once had a preservative power and earlier findings discovered rice husks in urns. It’s only because of the glory of the soil in Adichanallur, one of the world’s richest archaeological troves.

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