In 2004, a number of skeletons dating from around 1800 BCE[not in citation given] were found buried in earthenware urns. More than 160 urns have been found. These urns also contained writing, which according to some ASI archaeologists, is rudimentary Tamil Brahmi. The script might date back to circa 500 BCE, subject to confirmation by Carbon-14 dating which is more reliable.[not in citation given]
Later, a three-tier burial system was discovered in which earlier generations were buried in urns at 10 feet depth and recent ones above them. Soon the habitation site of the people who were buried was also discovered recently. At one point in time, around 169 clay urns containing human skeletons were unearthed that dates back to at-least 3,800 years..
Analyzing the habitation site, it was understood that people lived in a fortified town and it had a separate potters quarters. There was also evidence of industrial activity and archaeologists think that it was a crowded busy town.
New initiative involves setting up of site museums. Efforts are on to set up museums in the very places from where significant objects are excavated, the ASI has a huge collection of materials like urns excavated from Adichanallur. At present, they are lying in Chennai. The idea is to set up a museum in Adichanallur itself and putting on display whatever had been excavated from there.
ADICHANALLUR has a history of excavation. The urn-burial site was brought to light when a German, Dr. Jagor, conducted a haphazard excavation at the place in 1876. An Englishman called Alexander Rea, who was the Superintending Archaeologist, excavated the urn-burial site between 1889 and 1905. A Frenchman called Louis Lapique had also conducted an excavation in 1904.
In his article entitled "Prehistoric antiquities in Tinnevelly", which appeared in the Archaeological Survey of India's annual report in 1902-03, Rea called the Adichanallur site "the most extensive prehistoric site as yet discovered in southern if not in the whole of India... . The site was first brought to notice in 1876 when it was visited by Dr. Jagor of Berlin, accompanied by the Collector of Tinnevelly and the District Engineer."
Excavations by Dr. Jagor had yielded "upwards of 50 kinds of baked earthenware utensils of all sizes and shapes, a considerable number of iron weapons and implements, chiefly knives or short sword blades and hatchets, and a great quantity of bones and skulls". Rea says "these articles were taken away by Dr. Jagor for the Berlin Museum".