CM Stalin flags off excavation works at eight sites

To carry out the third phase of excavation at Vembakottai, the state government has allocated Rs 30 lakh.
Chief Minister MK Stalin launching the excavation works
Chief Minister MK Stalin launching the excavation works(Photo | Express)

SIVAGANGA/VIRUDHUNAGAR/TENKASI/KRISHNAGIRI/TIRUPPUR : Making way for more excavations to unearth Tamil Nadu's history, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday inaugurated works at eight sites, namely, Keeladi, Vembakottai, Thirumalapuram in Tenkasi, Kilnamandi in Tiruvannamalai, Porpanaikottai in Pudukkottai (second phase), Chennanur in Krishnagiri, Kongalnagaram in Tiruppur, and Marungoor in Cuddalore, via video conference in Chennai.  

CM Stalin was present in Chennai along with ministers KR Periakaruppan, Thangam Thennarasu, and KKSSR Ramachandran, Chief Secretary Shiva Das Meena, Additional Chief Secretary K Manivasan, Principal Secretary T Udhayachandran, and Joint Director of Archaeology Department R Sivanandham. Addressing the virtual gathering, Udhayachandran said the government has allocated the most funds (`5 crore) in the country aimed at excavations. Underscoring the significance of Keeladi, Udhayachandran said that aretfacts were unearthed at the site, which dates back to 2,600 BC, and proved that the people of that era were literate, in addition to establishing the existence of trade activities with countries like Rome. The chief minister also released two books — Perumbalai Excavation Report and Tamil Nadu Inscriptions (Volume - XXVIII).

At Keeladi, Sivaganga District Collector Asha Ajith, MP Karti P Chidambaram, and Manamadurai MLA Tamilarasi were present. Chidambaram told reporters that the BJP government did not want to continue with the excavation at the site. "They wanted to write a history their way, but Keeladi was against their ideology and a myth, which is the reason they stopped the excavation," he said.

To carry out the third phase of excavation at Vembakottai, the state government has allocated `30 lakh. "The archaeology department is documenting all evidence, and will display the artifacts at the museum which is currently being built at a cost of `6.8 crore in Virudhunagar district," said District Collector VP Jeyaseelan.

In Thirumalapuram, Tenkasi District Collector AK Kamal Kishore inaugurated works at the site in the presence of MP-elect Rani Srikumar. "The archeological remains at a depth of four feet were discovered when the soil was dug up for road works. The excavation site, where burial urns were discovered, now spans 35 acres," said the collector in the presence of Vasudevanallur MLA Sathan Thirumalaikumar, Union Chairman Muthaiah Pandian, Thirumalapuram site Director K Vasanthakumar, site in-charge T Kaleeswaran, District Archeological Officer K Sakthivel, and Sankarankovil Revenue Divisional Officer Kavitha.

Flagging the preliminary excavation work at Konkalnagar, Tiruppur Collector T Cristuraj said, “The 20-acre site has revealed ancient monuments like ‘kalvattam’ and ‘kalthittai’, and rock art. Following a field research in the area, the first phase of excavation work has been kicked off. There is a coconut grove right on top of the site. Chances are that the remains underground are safe.” The Chennaonnoor site's inauguration was presided over by Krishnagiri Collector KM Sarayu at Uthangarai. Chennanoor had traces of Neolithic period tools, dating back to 2,500 BCE. The excavation will be carried till next May. Director of Chennanoor archeological site, Parandhaman, Uthangarai tahsildar Thirumal, Krishnagiri museum curator Govindaraj and various took part.

The aim of the second phase of excavation at Porpanaikottai in Pudukkottai is to trace Tamil Nadu's roots to the Iron Age. Located in Veppangudi Panchayat, Alangudi, it was known as Sangam archeological site because of the bricks, black-red pottery, and pottery inscribed with Brahmi letters that were earlier discovered here. The abundance of iron flint pipes and furnaces indicate that an iron industry was in full swing during the prehistoric and medieval periods. Pudukkottai Collector Mercy Ramya, Revenue Commissioner Pa Aishwarya, and Assistant Director of Archeology Thangadurai were present in the event. 

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