THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has decided to constitute an expert committee to study the damage caused by the mid-August torrential rain to the Edakkal caves, the archaeological marvel in Wayanad district, which draws a large number of visitors every year.
Archaeology director J Rejikumar said the committee will consist of experts from the state departments of archaeology and geology. Rock slabs were found dislodged in the first cave which has prompted the Archaeology Department to shut off the location to visitors for the time being.
The department has, however, confirmed that the neolithic pictorial rock carvings believed to date back to 6000 BCE — the main attraction of the caves — are intact, Rejikumar said.
“We believe the rainwater, which filtered into the cave, may have dislodged the rocks. Only a detailed examination by experts will help identify the problem,” he said.
Last week, Archaeology and Museums Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally and top department officers had visited Wayanad to take stock of the situation.
In mid-August, Wayanad district had received torrential rainfall and was also among the districts that received the highest amount of rainfall which plunged the state into a devastating flood crisis.
But it’s not just the Edakkal caves alone that were affected by the heavy rainfall and floods. By Wednesday, the Archaeology Department will start a detailed examination of various protected monuments under it in the state. A preliminary examination by the department staff has revealed overall damage to the tune of about `1.1 crore.
The department has 179 protected monuments under it. Officers attributed the damage mostly to dampening caused by flooding in old structures that use lime plastering and leakages in wooden structures. Rectification work is being carried out in several of the structures.