Prehistoric remains from one of the most important Iron Age burials in the State, located here, near Tirunelveli, is likely to be housed on a site museum next to it.
“We are planning to set up a museum near the 114-acre archaeological site in the village. We can display it elsewhere too. But, it is very important that a comprehensive museum is functional here,” said School Education Minister, Thangam Thennarasu, who is also in-charge of the State Archaeology Department.
The Archaeological Survey of India, the Central body that carries out excavations in the area, has been approached for setting up the museum. The State government is in the process of identifying land near the site of the remains.
No activity is permitted within 100 metres of any ASI excavation site that has historical importance. The Director General of Archaeology, after consulting with the Union Department of Culture, can permit setting up of a museum.
The 114-acre site, a long stretch of high ground extending from north to south, is rocky and unsuitable for cultivation. There have been a series of excavations beginning in 1876.
The most noteworthy work was that of Alexander Rea between 1899 and 1905, according to Sathyabhama Badhreenath, Superintending Archaeologist, Chennai Circle. The next serious excavation was done by the ASI in 2005.
Because of the extensive documentation involved and the manner in which the urns were buried, the ASI took five months to examine 600 sq.m of the 114 acres and found 160 urns. For now, the ASI has stopped excavations in the area.
Some officials believe that habitation was on the other side of the Thamirabharani, on a stretch of land which has already been developed, leaving no traces of anything ancient.
According to officials, the fact that this place was a burial ground and the superstitions surrounding burial grounds and the dead dissuaded people from vandalising it. Still, there had been some instances of people digging in search of something valuable. One such digger left open an urn after thoroughly checking the contents a few days back.
ASI officials examined the urn on Tuesday, and concluded there was nothing noteworthy in the urn.
Local people are excited about the possibility that a site museum would throw up. Chidambaram, a 76-year-old local farmer, who arrived at the site on hearing about visits of officials, wanted the area declared a place of tourist importance and handed over a memorandum to Mr. Thennarasu.