HC allows ASI to shift Keezhadi artefacts to Dehradun lab

High Courtorders detailed documentation before the antiquities are moved out

Updated - December 02, 2016 05:27 pm IST

Published - November 25, 2016 12:00 am IST - MADURAI

: The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday permitted the Archaeological Survey of India to shift artefacts excavated by it from Pallichanthai Thidal at Keezhadi in the Sivaganga district to its Laboratory of Archaeological Chemist in Dehradun in Uttarakhand or any other lab in the country.

The artefacts point to the existence of an ancient Tamil civilisation that could have thrived on the banks of the Vaigai river.

Justices S. Nagamuthu and M.V. Muralidaran granted permission after the ASI informed the court that shifting the artefacts to a laboratory in Chennai would not serve any purpose since the latter lacked the facilities required for scientific cleaning, analysis and documentation.

The judges, however, ordered that the Commissioner of the State Archaeological Department must take stock of the antiquities before they were moved out of Keezhadi.

T.N. told to monitor work

The Commissioner was ordered to personally monitor the work of noting down details of each artefact, besides shooting videos and taking photographs of antiquities excavated during the 2015-16 field season. As for the artefacts excavated from Keezhadi during the 2014-15 season, the court was informed that they had already been moved to the Bangalore Circle Office.

Recording the statement, the judges directed the Commissioner to depute a subordinate to visit the Bangalore lab for collecting details and shooting videos of the artefacts shifted there, too.

“After the scientific analysis, the excavated material should be brought back and kept in Keezhadi or in the Sivaganga district museum or any other suitable building,” the court ordered.

Site museum

On the possibility of a site museum at Keezhadi, the ASI said it received “more than 120 exploration and excavation proposals in every field season and it is a tedious process to propose a site museum at any of the sites because the importance of the site can be established only after extensive excavation and post excavation analysis.”

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