History came to the surface at Valankulam, a water body near Sungam here, on Thursday as a structure probably dating back to the 18th century was discovered during earth work for road widening.

As part of a Rs.49-crore scheme to improve Tiruchi Road from the Stock Exchange to Narashimanaickenpalayam for more than 40 km, the National Highways has started works to widen the road at Sungam on NH 67 (Tiruchi Road).

On Thursday, the claws of an earthmover hit a brick structure at about three metres depth. On removal of sand and silt that covered it, officials found an arch-like culvert.

Rumours about the find resulted in a large number of people turning up to have a look at it. This forced officials to stop work and close the structure temporarily with sand. The police had to step in to clear the crowd and ensure free flow of traffic at the junction.

On Friday, officials of the Archaeological Department visited the spot. According to an official, the structure probably dates back to 18th or 19th century.

“It could have been built during the period of Tipu Sultan or the British. The structure is made of small bricks and lime mortar and is very strong. It is about 20-foot wide and could have been an outlet for water from the Valankulam tank.

“However, there is no evidence to declare it an archaeological monument,” an official said.

Divisional Engineer of National Highways G. Thangamuthu and Assistant Divisional Engineer A.S. Viswanathan consulted the Project Director and his team and have decided to go ahead with the road widening work without disturbing the structure.