Archaeologists Uncover Crystal Quartz Weighing Unit In Tamil Nadu's Keeladi

Swarajya News Staff

Aug 10, 2023, 07:09 PM | Updated 07:09 PM IST

Weighing unit made of crystal quartz found at Keeladi (Photo: Vignesh Vijayakumar/Twitter)
Weighing unit made of crystal quartz found at Keeladi (Photo: Vignesh Vijayakumar/Twitter)

Archaeologists at the Keeladi excavation site in Tamil Nadu have discovered a crystal quartz weighing unit from the Sangam era.

This find is significant as it is the first of its kind since excavations began in Keeladi in 2014.

The unit, which has a unique spherical shape, was found 175 cm underground.

According to the state archaeology department, the crystal unit measures 2 cm in diameter, 1.5 cm in height, and weighs only 8 grams.

Along with the weighing unit, other artifacts such as a terracotta hopscotch, an iron nail, black and red ware, red slipped ware, and an earthen snake figurine were also found.

Historians and archaeologists are excited about this discovery because in the past, weighing units were typically made of stones. However, the purpose of this crystal unit and the exact unit of measurement it was used for are still unknown.

Further analysis and assessment of the findings are currently underway.

“We can confirm that they were used for weighing purposes," said an expert with the state archaeological department, as reported in the Indian Express.

"Though we found stone-made weighing units earlier, these were not rock-made but made of minerals. These weighting units were not used for paddy or vegetables but for weighing high-value items such as gold, precious and semi-precious stones.

"Crystals or mineral materials are used as weighing units because they give accurate results and do not depend on the climate,” the expert said.

Crystal quartz units are believed to have originated in the Kangayam area near Coimbatore. Even as further research is underway, experts estimate that these quartz units date back to a period between 600 BC and the 2nd century AD.

The ongoing excavations in Keeladi, initiated by Chief Minister M K Stalin in April, mark the ninth phase of exploration.

These excavations, along with others in Tamil Nadu, have expanded the timeline of the Sangam Era from 300 BCE to 600 BCE. This provides valuable insights into the ancient history of the region.

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