The Chennai based Tamil Heritage group along with REACH Foundation presented their monthly lecture today on Adichanallur Excavations. Link to invitation and profile of the speaker is attached here

Prof Raghavan spoke about using the science of Skeletal Biology to identify races of the excavated skeletal remains. Apparently Cell Biology (the famous DNA test!) is of lesser use as during the process of excavation there could be contamination. Haphazard excavation of this site in Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu was done by a German in second half of 19th century.

 Many skeletal remains were carried away to Germany ostensibly to prove Aryan – Dravidian divides, but nothingmaterialised and the remains were never returned nor claimed. After a second round of excavations up to 1905, independentIndiathought it fit to take up excavations only in 2004. After a 100 years! Apparently 90% of Adichanallur is still not excavated.

Prof  Raghavan explained the process and shared some of the salient conclusions:

–          Skulls of contemporary Tamil population are less in the sample compared to other racial groups.

–          Most common racial group is Caucasoid Male.

–          Second most common is Vietnamese Male.

–          Apart from this there are remains that should belong to an ostrich! (in Tirunelveli district 2500 years ago – obviously someone brought it for use!)

–          Skeletons belonged to people who must have lived for 50 – 55 years, indicating reasonable degree of healthcare and comfort

–          Some elements of analysis  indicate they might have been divers or sailors

This indicates that it should have been quite a ‘metropolitan’ settlement. People from faraway lands sailed down and settled there! There has been increasing evidence of Indians travelling and settling down in lands like Vietnam (I Century CE, Rach Gia Link), but the reverse also seems to have happened! Of course more digging is necessary!

For those interested checking out more, please visit this link.

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