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Keezhadi excavation leads to ancient civilisation on the banks of Vaigai

Survey on to finalise location for excavation

Plan to launch excavations at seven more sites in the State

January 22, 2021 09:03 pm | Updated January 23, 2021 04:55 am IST - TIRUCHI

Officials of the Department of Archaeology conducting a field survey at Maligaimedu in Ariyalur district on Friday.

Officials of the Department of Archaeology conducting a field survey at Maligaimedu in Ariyalur district on Friday.

The State Department of Archaeology has commenced a field survey to identify potential locations for excavation at Gangaikondacholapuram-Maligaimedu and surrounding villages in Ariyalur district.

The survey comes in the wake of the decision of the department to launch excavations at seven more sites in the State.

Excavations would be carried out in Keeladi and surrounding areas in Sivaganga district, Adichanallur and surrounding areas, Sivakalai and surrounding areas and Korkai and surrounding areas in Thoothukudi district, Kodumanal in Erode district, Mayiladumparai in Krishnagiri district as well as Gangaikondacholapuram and Maligaimedu in Ariyalur district, T.Udayachandran, Principal Secretary and Commissioner of the Department, had said recently.

According to sources, the excavations are likely to commence simultaneously at all the seven sites next month and the projects are to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami.

Ahead of the commencement of the excavation, a three-member team of the department, comprising R.Sivanandam, Deputy Director, and M.Prabakaran and K.Bagyalakshmi, Archaeological Officers, arrived at Gangaikondacholapuram on Thursday to begin the survey to identify the potential locations for excavation.

On Friday, an agency authorised by the Institute of Remote Sensing of the Anna University joined the officials with drone and thermal cameras to conduct the survey. Experts from Central University of Tamil Nadu would join the team on Saturday with ground penetrating radar system to take up more investigations.

“The exercise will go on till Sunday or Monday. Based on the report of the teams, we will finalise the exact location to carry out the excavation,” Mr.Sivanandam said.

He pointed out that excavations had been done at the site on smaller scale on six occasions previously when portions of the Rajendra Chola’s palace were unearthed.

“We are now looking to take up exploration on a larger scale to find out more about the palace, the city and its streets, water management system etc.,” Mr.Sivanandam said.

Gangaikondacholapuram was established by King Rajendra Chola I (1012-1044 CE) after his victorious expedition up to the Gangetic plains. Excavations conducted earlier at Maligaimedu had revealed the remains of a royal palace. Antiques and other items found in the excavations are on display at a museum at Gangaikondacholapuram.

Mr.Sivanandam indicated that the study would not be confined to the palace, but also cover nearby areas such as the Ayudhakalam to look for possible remains of iron implements and Meikavalputhur to trace the habitat of bodyguards. “We will also try and find out whether there was any paleochannel from the Kollidam to Cholagangam (a massive lake built by Rajendra Chola),” he said.

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