CHENNAI: The excavation at Keezhadi in Sivaganga district, undertaken by the State Department of Archaeology, is nearing completion and the six-month-long digging has yielded 8,000 antiquities so far.
Amid controversy over the Centre’s alleged lethargy towards furthering the expedition through the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the State Department of Archaeology on April 18 launched further digging at Keezhadi.
“The excavation is going to be completed by the end of September. About 8,000 antiquities have been unearthed so far,” K Pandiarajan, Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture, told Express on Friday, adding, “The significance of the artefacts will thoroughly be ascertained soon.” The State government sanctioned Rs 55 lakh for undertaking excavations at the promising site which kindled a debate and kicked up a controversy. Meanwhile, an official said that a large collection of terracotta objects, including human figurines, gamesmen, and Brahmi sherds were found at the site. Glass beads, iron objects, tools, pots, bowls, plates and a 10 cm-long pointed arrow were also unearthed by the excavation team.
Efforts are being made to construct an in-situ museum at Keezhadi, for which the Tamil Nadu government had already earmarked Rs 1 crore, besides trying to get funds from the Centre.
“The State government has already made an allocation of Rs 1 crore for establishing the museum. Now, we are trying to get Rs 2 crore from the Centre,” Pandiarajan informed.
Once the current season of excavation is completed, the works will be launched for the construction of the museum, he said.
It may be noted that political parties and organisations in the State had accused the Centre of deliberately pouring cold water on the excavations undertaken by the ASI by delaying permission for the third season. Moreover, the Superintending Archaeologist of the ASI’s excavation branch at Bengaluru, Amarnath Ramakrishna, who was heading the expedition, was shunted out in a controversial manner leading to a huge outcry.