Kerala

Archaeology Department on a treasure hunt

A team from the Department of Archaeology inspecting the property of Prince Punnen Marks at Meenadom in Kottayam.

A team from the Department of Archaeology inspecting the property of Prince Punnen Marks at Meenadom in Kottayam.   | Photo Credit: Girish Kumar P J

On a court directive, it is in search for treasures in a family-owned property in Kottayam

For the first time in its history, the Department of Archaeology has commenced preliminary moves for a possible treasure hunt in the Vennimala Kotta area in Meenadom grama panchayat in Kottayam. The department’s intervention comes in the wake of a directive of the Kerala High Court.

Speaking to The Hindu, Superintending Archaeologist K.R. Sona, who inspected the area on Thursday, said an interim report would be submitted to the court next week. Further action would be based on directives of the court.

A team from the department recorded the history of the family that owned the property and also inspected the antiquity of the plot.

The court directive came in response to a plea by the present owners of the three-acre property with more than a century-old house, Prince Punnen Marks, who works for a bank in Abu Dhabi, and his mother, Alyamma Markose, a retired teacher. Ms. Markose lives with two of her granddaughters, both school students, at the house.

Speaking from Abu Dhabi, Mr. Marks said he was the eighth generation of the family staying at the house. They belonged to a family that had migrated to Meenadom and got more than 500 acres on lease from the Puthuvamna Illom.

Even his forefathers believed that there were treasures hidden in the plot as the area formed part of the historic Vennimala Kotta, believed to be the seat of power right from the Perumal days.

Pressure to sell

Of late, he and his family were under pressure from people, mostly unknown to them, to sell off the property. “On many occasions we have seen people trespassing into our property at night,” said Ms. Markose.

It was against this situation that they approached the court with a plea to put the things in perspective. “I don’t want any treasure. If there are any, the government can take it. Otherwise, we need an official declaration that there is no treasure in it,” Mr. Marks says.

Officials from the Archaeology Department pointed out that their responsibility was basically to fix the antiquity of an object and protect it. Searching for treasures was part of the responsibility of the Department of Mining and Geology.

Since the court had issued a directive, the department was entering a new area, for the first time its history, they added.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 6:44:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/archaeology-department-on-a-treasure-hunt/article19181077.ece

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