The State Archaeology Department will soon launch a mega project to identify and explore megalithic monuments lying scattered across the state. The initiative is a run-up to a mission to identify and protect megalithic sites and artifacts of historical importance that go unnoticed and unprotected on private lands.
“We are planning a statewide exploration to identify megalithic sites. To begin with, we will organise a national seminar in coordination with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),” said Dr Premkumar, director of the Archaeological Department.
Experts and researchers will conduct the statewide exploration to identify the sites. The initiative comes in the backdrop of the limitations the department faces to protect monuments in areas under private ownership. “Numerous megalithic monuments like rock-cut caves, muniyaras, Jain pillars and umbrella rocks are laying unidentified and unprotected in different parts of the state,” said Dr Premkumar.
“A survey on archaeological remains in two panchayats in Idukki district has already been completed. Many interesting findings have emerged out of the study and we will publish a record of the sites and findings soon. Similar surveys would be conducted in all districts and each district will have a book on the sites of archaeological importance, especially megalithic sites,” he added. “I have also submitted a proposal with detailed plan to buy and protect megalithic sites that fall under private ownership.”
A detailed study was also planned to understand the archaeological history of Madayippara in Kannur. Madayippara and its surroundings are dotted with sites and artifacts of immense historic importance. The exploration will study the archaeological importance Joothakkulam, Darikan Kotta, Kelu’s fort, sites that relate to ancient King Valabhan, Palayam ground which is connected with the march of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and the Sultan canal, the director explained.
“A rock-cut cave was found on a private land near the Jagannath Temple in Thalassery recently. Another site was found in Kozhikode,” Dr Premkumar said. An archaeologist had visited the site near the Jagannath Temple to assess the period.