Fifth phase of Keezhadi excavation on

Site museum will come up very soon, says Minister Pandiarajan

The fifth phase of archaeological excavation was officially launched at Keezhadi here by Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture and Archaeology, K. Pandiarajan, on Thursday.

The excavation lasting for four to five months would be the second one by the State Department of Archaeology. The first three phases were done by the Archaeological Survey of India.

So far, 35 trenches have been dug up in the four phases. The department has allocated ₹47 lakh for excavation of 15 trenches under the fifth phase.

“For the first time, the expertise of Indian Institute of Geomagnetism would be used to zero-in on the exact location where ancient structures are likely to be found underneath the surface,” said Mr. Pandiarajan.

He said that so far 13,638 artefacts had been found. “All the 7,818 artefacts recovered by the ASI have been shifted to its office in Chennai from Mysuru,” the Minister said. Among them are beads of different materials, bangles, copper, different articles made of deer horn, iron and ivory.

Stating that two acres of land sought by the ASI for setting up a site museum at Keezhadi would be used by the government for constructing it to showcase all its artefacts. “Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Service Corporation under the Department of School Education has allotted ₹1 crore for the museum,” Mr. Pandiarajan said. “Tender has been floated for the museum and construction is likely to be taken up soon,” he said.

Keezhadi excavation proved that the region was a cradle of urban civilisation. The theme of the World Tamil Conference to be held in Chicago was Keezhadi en Thaimadi (Keezhadi my mother’s lap), he said.

The State government would take all-out efforts to showcase to the world the significance of Keezhadi and ancient nature of Tamil, he added.

12 forts to be renovated

Meanwhile, 12 forts in the State would be renovated at a cost of ₹24 crore with assistance from Asian Development Bank.

Madurai MP Su. Venkatesan said that six villages in and around Keezhadi had a lot of potential for excavation. These villages should be declared as Sangam period zone to preserve the Tamil history of over 2000 years.

He also wondered why the Centre gave up the ASI exploration in Keezhadi.

Khadi and Village Industries Minister G. Baskaran, Sivagangai Collector J. Jayakanthan, Department of Archaeology deputy director R. Sivanandam, were present.

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