The seventh phase of archaeological excavation at Keeladi and its cluster, covering Manalur, Agaram and Konthagai, was formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Saturday through video-conferencing from Chennai.
Sivaganga Collector P. Madhusudhan Reddy, who was present during the inaugural event, said that construction of a museum at a cost of ₹12.21 crore to display the artefacts unearthed at the excavations is under way. This museum will help students, researchers and enthusiasts to learn about the ancient civilisation on the banks of the Vaigai.
The first three phases of excavations were carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India. A total of 7,818 artefacts were unearthed during these phases.
The Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology (TNSDA), conducted the fourth, fifth and sixth phases of excavations, and will conduct the seventh phase of excavation. While a total of 5,820 artefacts were unearthed during the fourth phase of excavation, during the fifth phase of excavation around 900 artefacts, including brick structures, were excavated.
During the sixth phase, excavations were undertaken at Keeladi, Konthagai, Manalur and Agaram. The artefacts unearthed during this phase indicated that Keeladi was an industrial city with flourishing trading activities.
The skeletons and urns unearthed at Konthagai indicated that it was a burial site. The microlithic tools unearthed at Agaram showed that they were manufactured there.
Deputy Director of Archaeology R. Sivanandam also participated in the inaugural event.