Andhra Pradesh

No treasure found in excavations: Collector

The ongoing excavation on the Chennampalli fort premises in Tuggali mandal of Kurnool district has led to some skeletal remains, but there are no indications of the presence of mineral wealth, precious stones or any treasure, according to Kurnool Collector S. Satyanarayana.

The excavation was taken up on the premises of the ancient fort, dating back to the 14th century, by government officials nine days ago following representations by the Department of Mines and Geology that the place could possibly have mineral deposits and precious stones, the Collector told the media in his camp office. Rayalaseema was known as ‘Rathanala Seema’ (a treasure house of precious stones) and in the wake of precious stones surfacing in parts of Tuggali, Peravali and Maddikera in Kurnool district and Vajrakarur in Anantapur district, the officials took up excavation hoping to find presence of minerals and precious stones on the Chennampalli fort premises, he added. Inscriptions dating back to Emperor Ashoka’s rule had surfaced in Yerragudi area, he recalled. A company called Geo-Mysore had taken up exploration work in Maddikera area, he said.

Official supervision

Allaying apprehensions and different versions aired in the media and the social media, Mr. Satyanarayana said it was not the handiwork of treasure hunters or a case of illegal excavation. The entire excavation was being monitored by Adoni Revenue Divisional Officer Ch. Obulesu, Assistant Director of Mines and Geology T. Nataraj, Special Deputy Collector Subba Reddy and other officials and recorded by installing closed circuit cameras. The villagers resisted the excavation initially but a village committee was formed in Chennampalli on the second day of excavation, he added.

The fort spanned an area of 102 acres of grama kantham land, under the purview of the Revenue Department and it was not a notified archaeological site, the Collector said. Black soil, soft mud, a red brick of nine by two-and-a-half inch size, bones of a horse and an elephant tusk were detected so far, according to Mr. Satyanarayana. A boulder with dot marks resembling the Swastik sign was also found. Metal detectors and lasers would be used if needed, he said.

The Assistant Director of Mines and Geology said six granite quarries were leased out close to the fort premises in the past. No structure like a fort existed on the premises but the 102 acre-stretch had a compound wall built centuries ago, he added.

The Collector said he had directed the officials of the Department of Archaeology to examine the ancient relics traced on Chennampalli fort. If any treasure was found on the fort site, it would be taken over by the government under the Treasure Trove Act, Mr. Satyanarayana said.

Some alleged treasure hunters resorted to illegal excavation in the fort site in search of treasure a few years ago, but the police apprehended and booked them. The excavation work was likely to continue for two to three more days, the Collector said. Meanwhile, reports that a potful of gold was found on the Chennampalli fort site have gone viral on social media platforms, but officials dubbed them as concocted.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:12:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/no-treasure-found-in-excavations-collector/article22206586.ece

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