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Pattanam excavation significant: Baby

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CONSERVATION INITIATIVE: Education MinisterM.A. Baby visits the excavation site at Pattanam on Friday.
CONSERVATION INITIATIVE: Education MinisterM.A. Baby visits the excavation site at Pattanam on Friday.

Anand Haridas

KOCHI: Pattanam excavation process has been one of the most significant achievements during this government's term, as it has evolved as a major intellectual event in the national history, said Minister for Culture M.A. Baby has said.

He was speaking after visiting the excavation site at Pattanam, near North Paravur, on the outskirts of the city.

Excavations done by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) unearthed the first-ever Iron Age habitation remains from the State.

Even though the excavation process would be linked to the proposed Muziris Heritage Project, care would be taken not to dilute the academic pursuit in the cascading effect of tourism, Mr. Baby told The Hindu.

Already MoUs have been signed with many international universities like Oxford, Universities of Rome, Delaware and Durham to ensure that academic work is not affected, he said.

The Minister went down a trench dug for excavation and reviewed the work done by the KCHR. “I understand that this season produced huge quantity of cultural material made or used by ancient people of Kerala. I am amazed to know that two million pottery fragments were dug out from just 200-plus sq.m. It is heartening that ancient Tamilakam's pride of the port Muziris is finally discovered.”

The Minister also appreciated that the local population was cooperating with the research and conservation activities.

“The government will support heritage conservation initiatives in which the local people are stakeholders and beneficiaries.”

He also took a look at the exhibits collected from the site, which included semi-precious stones, coins from the Chera period and remains of pottery showing clear connection with West Asian countries.

The excavation team had reached peat formation, consisting of organic sediments that is below natural settlement, and the digging was stopped at a depth of around 4 m.

The trench of 7x4 m dimensions was right now being documented thoroughly.

“We have also dug eight trial pits during this season on the periphery of the 45 hectares believed to be area of settlement and we got clear indication of presence of ancient civilisations there. These leads need to be probed in a scientific manner to get a clear picture of how these civilisations existed,” said P.J. Cherian, Director, KCHR.

The KCHR's request for residents in the neighbourhood to be stakeholders in conducting proper study of the area has evoked a warm response.

“Many people have come up with requests to the KCHR to take up study in their area,” said Dr. Cherian.

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