Mayiladumparai (TN): India’s earliest Iron Age site

Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu announced in the state Assembly that Mayiladumparai is the oldest Iron Age site currently found in India.

How is it confirmed that Mayiladumparai is the oldest Iron Age site?

Radiocarbon dating of excavations from the Mayiladumparai site confirmed that it is the oldest Iron Age site currently found in India.

Which method of radiocarbon dating was used?

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (C14-carbon dating) method.

Where were the samples from the Mayiladumparai site tested?

Beta Analytic Testing Laboratory in Florida, USA.

When was Iron first used in Tamil Nadu?

After excavations at the Mayiladumparai site, it is now confirmed that iron was used in Tamil Nadu state as early as 2172 BCE or 4,200 years ago.

Before Mayiladumparai, where was the earliest evidence of the use of iron found?

In Tamil Nadu, it was found in Mangadu near Mettur in the Salem region, which was dated to 1510 BCE. Whereas in Karnataka’s Brahmagiri it was dated much earlier to 2040 BCE.

Where is the Mayiladumparai site located?

Mayiladumparai site is located in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. It is habitation-cum-burial site.

Who conducted the excavations at the Mayiladumparai site?

The Mayiladumparai site was first excavated in 2003 by K Rajan of the Thanjavur-based Tamil University. In 2021, excavations were resumed by Tamil Nadu’s Department of Archaeology.

What are the major findings of the excavations?

  • Iron Age in Tamil Nadu has been identified as early as 2172 BCE or 4,200 years ago.
  • The late Neolithic phase (the last part of the Stone Age) is identified before 2200 BCE.
  • Black-red pottery was introduced in the late Neolithic phase and not in the Iron Age.

In which other sites of Tamil Nadu excavations were carried out?

Keezhadi and Adichanallur are the other famous sites where excavations were carried out.

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