Tuyeres found near Malampuzha throw more light on iron-age

 thehindu.com  08/02/2020 14:48:17 

Archaeological explorations conducted near Malampuzha in the district have unearthed several vital pieces of evidence to establish that the site had been used for iron smelting for large-scale production of iron tools and implements in the iron-age megalithic period.

Archaeologists in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have confirmed that the discovery of tuyeres from Kunnumpuram, a megalithic site on the fringes of the Malampuzha reservoir near Valiyakadu, was a rare find and therefore a crucial pointer to the predominance of iron-age activity in Kerala.

Rare find

It is a very good find. Tuyeres or terracotta nozzles used for pumping air into smelters or furnaces used in the iron-age megalithic period were rarely found in Kerala. It calls for a large-scale archaeological excavation, said Krishnaraj K., officer in charge of Pazhassi Raja Archaeological Museum, Kozhikode.

He said the discovery of tuyeres could buttress the references found in the Geniza Records of Egypt about large-scale export of iron from Kerala over 2,000 years ago.

K. Rajan from Government Victoria College here unearthed five tuyeres, a large number of brick pieces, potsherds and heaps of iron slag during the explorations he conducted over the past two years at Kunnumpuram. Mr. Rajan said that his finds threw light on the presence of forging facilities too near the site.

Furnace portions

Although iron slag was widely discovered from different parts of Kerala like Kinaloor in Kozhikode, Koonathara in Palakkad and Kottayam, the discovery of tuyeres and furnace portions was rare. I do not remember having found a tuyere, said Mr. Krishnaraj.

V. Selvakumar, archaeologist from Thanjavur, confirmed the find and said it would throw better light on iron production in the area. He said an excavation could bring out a lot more from Kunnumpuram.

Kodumanal in Tamil Nadu is one of the most important iron age sites where furnaces and tuyeres were recovered through excavation. The tuyeres found from Kunnumpuram were 8 cm to 14.5 cm long and 2.8 cm in diameter. They had 1.7 cm thickness. The slag heap had 45-50 cm thickness. They were discovered from the same hill where urn burials and cist burials were found last year.

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