The Archaeology Department launched on Wednesday an excavation on the banks of the Pampa river at Edayaranmula, near Aranmula, exploring the ancient Pampa Valley civilisation. In September, a few fishers had sighted terracotta figurines along a caved-in portion of the river bank near Anjilimoottilkadavu at Edayaranmula.
Rajeev Puliyoor, a Malayalam teacher at the Mahatma Gandhi University B.Ed. Centre at Elanthoor, who has been researching the Pampa Valley civilisation, and K.P. Sreeranganathan, photographer-turned-historian, said the figurines pointed to a centuries-old rich civilisation that prevailed in the Pampa river basin. Mr. Sreeranganathan it was a first of a kind discovery from the banks of Pampa and invited deeper studies.
The pieces include male and female figurines, snake heads, bust of a man and a twin female terracotta statue. The Aranmula-based Pampa Valley Civilisation Study and Research Centre has taken up the matter with Minister for Archaeology Kadannappally Ramachandran, who directed the Archaeology Department to conduct a detailed study and excavation of the site.
Team of experts
A team of experts comprising S. Bhoopesh, conservation engineer, and Rajeshkumar, curator, attached to the State Archaeology Department, visited Edayaranmula and examined the artefacts on October 1. Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam Executive Director P.K. Karunadas visited the site and the terracotta pieces were shifted to a room at the Gurukulam building at Aranmula.
Meanwhile, Mr. Puliyoor contacted historians M.R. Raghava Warrier and M.G.S. Narayanan. Prof. Warrier visited Edayaranmula in the first week of October and said that the artefacts might be 800-1200 years old.
The excavation of the site is progressing under the leadership of K.R. Sona, Superintending Archaeologist. A team comprising Krishnaraj, Abdul Hakkim, R. Rajeshkumar, Jeevamol, Vimalkumar, Baiju, and C.N. Sukumaran, is carrying out the excavation.
Hopeful of more
Mr. Puliyoor, who is coordinating the excavation, is confident of unearthing more artefacts from the site. He said Prof. Warrier and K.K. Mohammed, historian, too would visit the site.
He said the artefacts unearthed would be displayed at a museum to be set up at Nalkalickal near Aranmula. Dr. Mohanakshan Nair, linguist and Sanskrit scholar, said the 13th Century text, Tirunizhalmala , also mentioned the heritage village of Aranmula on the banks of Pampa and on the presence of education centres there.