For the first time at the Kodumanal excavation site in Chennimalai Union in Erode district that served as habitation-cum-industrial site, a 2,300 year-old step-well has been found during excavation by a team of the State Department of Archaeology.
The circle-shaped well was unearthed at 2.36 metres depth and is 2.65 metres wide while the depth of the well would be known only after deposits were removed in the coming weeks. A flight of 13 steps, which was constructed using weathered rocks, slopes down from the ground to the well that served the habitation. Two rubble masonry walls measuring 9.30 metres exist on both sides of the steps.
Archaeological Officers at the site told that during the excavation in September, 2020, they unearthed a rubble masonry wall measuring 3.5 metres which was believed to be a waterway. Hence, during the current excavation, we dug a trench near the last year’s trench to know where the waterway was and found the well. The well could have steps from all the four directions as they found steps in the third trench also.
The site, located 15 km from Chennimalai, is along the banks of the Noyyal and previous excavations since 1981 revealed the presence of an industrial complex where beads and semi-precious stones were manufactured. There was evidence of presence of a number of iron smelting units making forged steel at the site that served as trade centre from the fifth century BCE (Before the Common Era) to first century BCE.
“Water from the well could have been used both for household needs and also for polishing beads and other industrial activities”. The village lies on the ancient trade route that connected the Chera capital of Karur with the Chera port of Muciri in Pattnam in Kerala.