Clay is one of the first building materials used by any civilization and the Tamil were no exception. Today you can find clay pottery everywhere in the state. However, there are centers of excellence in Vellore and Kanyakumari.

Vellore on the other hand specializes in clay idols. The art is practised mainly by male artisans who produce a variety of idols of gods and goddesses. The uniqueness of these clay idols is that they are made from black clay which gives them a striking appearance.

In addition there is a tradition of making cheap toys out of mud in Madurai. It is actually a part of Navaratri celebration in South Indian households to have odd number of mud dolls (7 or 9 or 11) during the Navaratri Golu festival on the steps outside their home.

Keeladi – excavation

Scientists have discovered the oldest known human-made nanomaterials in the “unique black coatings” of ancient pottery shards — dated to 600 BC — unearthed from an archeological site in Keeladi, Tamil Nadu. The research, published recently in the journal Scientific Reports, revealed that these coatings are made of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) which have enabled the layer to last more than 2600 years, raising questions on the tools used during those periods to achieve high temperatures for making earthenwares.

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