CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Archaeology department commenced the fifth phase excavation at the ancient site of Keezhadi village, close to the banks of Vaigai river, in Sivaganga district, on Thursday hoping to throw more light on the ancient Tamil civilisation.
This crucial period of excavations will see the archaeological experts scouting for structures beneath the surface and they would be assisted by experts from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), Navi Mumbai. The TN Archaeology Department, which took over the excavations from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), has tied up with the IIG, for the technical aid. A team of 10 archaeologists will undertake the excavations. The government has sanctioned ` 55 lakh for the V phase of excavations, Tamil Culture Minister K. Pandiarajan, who launched the operation on Thursday, said.
Initial excavations by the ASI in 2015 at Keezhadi revealed a Sangam era settlement dating to the 2nd century BC. The previous four seasons of excavations yielded 13,638 artefacts including ivory articles, Carnelian and agate beads, shell bangles and Roman pottery besides unearthed remains of ring wells. Of these, about 5,820 artefacts were found in the fourth phase during April to September last year. The commencement of the fifth phase was deferred due to the April Lok Sabha elections.
Efforts were also on to establish a site museum at Keezhadi at a cost of Rs. one crore. “Already one acre land given by the State government to ASI would be utilised to set up the site museum and in addition the government would allot two more acres,” Mr. Pandiarajan said.
Speaking to reporters at Keezhadi the Minister said it has been proposed to make museum visits compulsory for school students in the State to enable them learn the rich ancient history of Tamil Nadu and its culture.
Already, there are 36 museums across the State and in addition to the four site museum that would come up this year, the government has planned to establish museums at Namakkal and Tiruppur. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami is slated to inaugurate a dinosaur museum soon.
Khadi and Village Industries Minister G. Baskaran, Sivaganga Collector Jayakanthan and Madurai MP K. Venkatasan were among those who participated.