Adichchanallur: Rea’s Excavation to Re-excavation by T. Satyamurthi
invite you and your friends to a talk by
Dr T. Satyamurthi
(Former Superintending Archaeologist
Archaeological Survey of India
Adichchanallur: Rea’s Excavation to Re-excavation
at 5.30pm on the 4th of September, 2010
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.
Abstract of talk:
The later part of the last century witnessed many significant archaeological discoveries in India. In post-independence period explorations conducted in India had yielded good results and Archaeologists could encounter as much as 250 sites of Indus culture. Some major excavations in these sites also established the fact that Indus civilization had spread over an area more than that it was originally concluded.
However in the south very few excavations were conducted. However, the aim here was to trace the root of Iron Age culture and record its ramifications. The superimposed iron copper materials in the southern Indian sites had added more complexity to the magnitude of the problem of identifying two different metal age cultures. Among the many such sites that had yielded both the metals the series of sites explored by Alexander Rea (1904) on the banks of Tamiraparani during the beginning of the last century draw our attention to find a solution to the problem. He had discovered as much as 38 sites from Tirunelveli to Mukkani in Tuttukudi District with in a distance of 50 km. Adichchanallur is one among them.
These excavations had proved that the ancient site at Adichanallur is the most extensive site that yielded numerous cultural assemblages of that period. Besides skeletal remains, potteries of various kinds, implements and weapons of iron, bronze ornaments, gold diadems were encountered by Rea. Many antiquities had striking similarity with their counterparts discovered in ancient sites like taxila and Rairh as in the case of metal mirror. The bronze mirrors of ancient sites in India including North West have are comparable with Adichanallur findings. In short the discovery had revealed the indigenous origin from a common place. Nevertheless the burial relics and the habitation remains got mingled and the excavation could not establish a civilization of far excellence.
The re excavation during 2004-2005 after a period of hundred years by the present author had yielded many results to establish the existence of a metropolitan settlement here. The people here excelled in many technologies including metallurgy. Applied Art also nourished here and the site formed a model to many settlements in the south. The lecture deals many facets of ancient Indian proto-historic civilization.
About the speaker:
Thyagaraja Satyamurthy (1946) hails from Chidambaram the famous temple town of Tamil Nadu. His father, being a freedom fighter, had trained him in many Swadesi crafts including spinning and he learnt Yajur Vedic chanting in traditional methodology under the Guru Chidambaram Natesa Sastrigal. After his degree in physics he opted to study post-graduation in Sanskrit in Annamalai University. He continued his research in ancient Dharma Sastras under the guidance of Dr.C.V.Venkatesan and the subject of his doctoral thesis was “Evolution of Concept of Dharma in pre puranic literature”. He was a rank-holder in the Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi (1972-73). He had his training in iconography and Art under Dr Sivaramamurthy and K.V.Soundararajan.
During 1970 he was appointed as Curator in the Museums Branch in Archaeological Survey of India and had reorganized many Museums including Red Fort, Khajuraho, Halebid, Purana Qila, Padmanabhapuram Mueseums. He was a successful archaeologist and administrator in ASI and recorded his ability in Vadodara, Bhubaneswar, Thrissur and Chennai circles. On deputation to Government of Kerala as Director, he reorganized the Department of Archaeology with vibrant activities.
Among the archaeological excavations he participated, the sites in Krishnajanmasthan at Mathura, Purana Qila in New Delhi and Ayodhya are worth mentioning. Under his leadership the megalithic site in Mangadu (Kollam District); Adichchanallur (Tuttukudi District) and Salvankuppam, near Mamallapuram were excavated.
His contributions include the scientific dating of Kerala megaliths, defining the habitational and burial areas in Adichchanallur and discovery of early pre-Pallava temple dedicated to Muruga in Mamallapuram. The discovery of paleo-tsunami deposits, for the first time in Indian sites in the excavations, gave a new momentum in the field of geophysical sciences. He could successfully digitally document the Chola murals in the dark chambers of Thanjavur temple and displayed them.
He has authored five books including the architecture of Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. He has contributed more than sixty research articles in various internally reputed journals. As art historian he has visited many museums in United States and Reunion Islands. On an invitation from the Srilankan government, he prepared a master plan for rebuilding the fallen Kedarevara temple at Manthai.
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