The Tamil Nadu Archaeological department along with the Archaeological Survey of India has unearthed rectangular ivory dice, in the excavation site in Keezhadi, Sivaganga district.
The dice was unearthed during the eighth phase of excavation. According to C Santhalingam, a Madurai-based archaeologist (retired) and founder of Pandya Nadu Centre for Historical Research, it’s a tool for entertainment for the elite class of people in the days of yore.
Sources in the team told IANS that this is the first time that a rectangular dice has been unearthed at Keezhadi while cubical dice was found under the earth during the earlier phases of the excavation.
In a statement, the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department said the dice was unearthed at a depth of 30 to 40 cm below the ground. The dice is 4.5 cm in length, 0.9 cm in height, and 0.9 cm in thickness.
Officials said it has marks (dot surrounded by circles) on four sides indicating numerals — one, two, three, and four.
This unearthed dice was known as ‘Pagadaikai’ in Tamil literature. It’s a four-faced dice.
The carbon dating of charcoal during the excavation at Keezhadi in 2017 has found that the settlement there went back to 200 B.C. This proved that urban civilization had existed in Tamil Nadu since the Sangam age.
The unearthing of several exquisitely crafted pots and other materials from Keezhadi during the earlier phases of the excavation has proved that the settlement had trade links with North India and the western world during the Sangam age.
More than 5,300 artifacts were unearthed from Keezhadi during the earlier excavation and the Tamil Nadu Archaeological department is setting up a museum at the site for display of these artifacts.