CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday welcomed Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement that Adichanallur will be developed as an iconic archaeological site with on-site museums. Adichanallur, an extensive urn burial site, spread over 114 acres, is located on the banks of Tamirabarani river, in Thoothukudi district.
The site was first discovered by Fedor Jagor of Berlin Museum in 1876. Later, British archaeologist Alexander Rea too excavated many urns till 1905. He also discovered gold diadems with parallels from Mycenae; bronze objects, notably lids with exquisite finials depicting many animal forms, iron objects, besides thousands of potsherds.
The excavation was resumed during 2003-05. More than 160 urns within 600 sq.metres have been exposed. Welcoming the move, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami requested the Centre to include Keezhadi in the list of iconic archaeological sites.
Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture, K Pandiarajan said, 'It is a welcome move by Central government. Due to this, there will be comparative studies with other archaeological sites. This is one of the earliest sites where ASI started doing excavations. Both human resources and financial resources will come there because of this. We expect the Centre would extend `20 crore assistance for developing Adichanallur."
Well-known archaeologist T Satyamurthy, who led the excavations at this site after a century between 2004-05 said: "It is a good move. My excavations have given very early date for the findings in this site. The site cannot be kept open. They can make the models of the site and keep them in the museum. I am very happy that the work I have done is being recognised by the government."
VCK MP and writer, D Ravikumar said, "It is a right move to set up an on-site museum at Adichanallur." He recalled how carbon dating for the findings of this site was not done for around 15 years and only on court orders it was done in recent years. Besides, carbon dating has proved that the findings from this site belong to 900 BC.
However, he took exception to Nirmala Sitharaman calling the Indus Valley civilisation as Saraswathi-Sindhu civilisation in her budget speech. "Those who deciphered Indus Valley civilisation, including Iravatham Mahadevan and Asko Parpola had confirmed the Dravidian connections to the findings in Harappa. Also, ancient Tamil letters were used in the findings in this place. When the Harappan civilisation was found to be very ancient, there were efforts to saffronise it by introducing an imaginary river called Saraswathi. Now, the Union Finance Minister intentionally calling it as Saraswathi-Sindhu civilisation raises apprehension," he said.
CPM MP from Madurai and author of historical novels, Su Venkatesan, took exception to Nirmala Sitharaman calling Indus valley civilisation as Saraswathi-Sindhu civilisation. Hindutva forces have been trying to name the vedic culture as Saraswathi civilisation and attributing it to Indus Valley civilisation.
"In this backdrop, the announcement on the Adichanallur site has come. We are unable to view this announcement by keeping aside the early efforts of Hindutva forces to rename Indus Valley civilisation," he told Express.