A team of experts from the Madurai Kamaraj University landed on Monday at Sivakalai, where the Department of Archaeology is carrying out excavations at the hillock since May 25, to collect samples from the burial urns for DNA analysis.

Led by M. Prabhakaran, 10 officials from the Department of Archaeology, a group of research students and 80 workers are doing excavations at the Sivakalai hillock where evidence of ancient human settlements has reportedly been found.

The team, which has so far dug 50 pits in the hillock, has recovered 31 burial urns, most of which had been covered with properly designed lids. Since the urns contained human skeletons, the excavators approached the Madurai Kamaraj University for conducting DNA tests on the bones to ascertain their age, which is essential for estimating the period of the civilisation era. As a team, led by Pitchaiyappan came to Sivakalai on Monday, two burial urns were opened to take the bones for DNA analysis.

Assistant Director of Archaeology Sivanantham, who has camped at Sivakalai, said there were signs that ancient Tamils, who lived in Sivakalai in the hillock, led a civilised life like their counterparts at Adichanallur 3,000 years ago. “The bones collected from the burial urns will be taken to the university for DNA analysis, which is likely to take several months. We believe that we might get iron and other earthen articles from the burial urns when we open them. These articles will also be sent for carbon dating and other related analysis to ascertain the age of Sivakalai settlement,” Mr. Sivanantham said.

“The age of the bones collected from the burial urns can be determined when we analyse the tooth and the jaw… The final results of the analysis may be available after a year or so,” said Dr. Pitchaiyappan, who was accompanied by Dr. Sudhakar from Department of Biotechnology of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University.

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