SIVAGANGA: Archaeologists have unearthed over 900 artefacts during the fifth phase of the Keezhadi excavation, which was wrapped up on Sunday. Sources in the State Archaeology Department said the sixth phase would commence in January next.
The artefacts include a semi-precious stone (carnelian) engraved with the shape of a pig, pots of various sizes, inscribed potsherds. “One of the major findings was the continuation of brick structures,” sources said.
During the fifth phase that began on June 13 archaeologists made 51 trenches and they did in four months, a time period shorter than that of the fourth phase. Since sporadic rains interrupted the excavation, the State government had given a thirteen-day extension to fifth phase.
Sixth phase of excavation
The archaeology department has sought permission from the Central Advisory Board of Archaeology (CABA) for the sixth phase of excavation in cluster villages -- Manalur, Konthagai and Agaram-- of Keezhadi. The civilization that existed in Keezhadi might have spread to Manalur and Agaram villages. An ancient burial site might also have existed at Konthagai, sources said.
Over 1.25 lakh people visited the site and the number of daily visitors rose after the State government released the report on the fourth phase. The department had to place restrictions on visiting hours and seek the assistance of the district police to control the crowd. “On weekdays 2,000-3,000 people visited the spot; this rose to over 7,000 on weekends. One Sunday, the number of visitors went up to 12,000” said sources.
Some visitors, much to the dismay of others, even walked on the ridges near trenches and took photos or videos; all this despite standing advices by the department.“The department, from the sixth phase onwards, should ensure that visitors do not disturb the structures,” said M Sheela, a school teacher who visited the site along with her students.
During the fifth phase, there were 40 incidents of drones flying over the excavation site, probably taking photos or videos. In a number of occasions, the department could not find out who was operating these drones, sources said.
‘Include research in school curriculum’
Madurai: Actor-director Sasikumar on Saturday appealed to the State government to include archaeological researches on Keezhadi in school curriculum. Speaking at a conference titled Keezhadi — Vaigai River Civilization, Sasikumar also requested the government to set up a world-class museum in Keezhadi.