Villagers unearthed parts of terracotta artefacts of archaeological value from the banks of the Pampa river at Aranmula on Saturday, buttressing the theory that a rich civilisation had once flourished along the river.
The terracotta pieces were first sighted by a villager, C.N. Sukumaran of Chellimalayil house at Edayaranmula, and a few fishermen while they passed by the caved-in portion of the banks of the Pampa near an under-construction bridge at Anjilimoottil- kadavu at Edayaranmula.
Mr. Sukumaran said they found the tip of terracotta pieces beneath the exposed roots of a mango tree on the riverbank. They unearthed the piece and washed them in the river.
The villagers said two terracotta idols were taken away by a former panchayat president and the remaining broken pieces were left on the riverbank itself. The matter was taken up with the Aranmula police station and police protection to the artefacts was given on Sunday morning. “As far as I know, this is the first-of-its-kind discovery on the Pampa basin at Aranmula,” says K.P. Sreeranganathan, historian and photographer from Aranmula.
Rajeev Puliyoor, Malayalam teacher at the Mahatma Gandhi University BEd Centre at Elanthoor, who has been doing research on the ‘Pampa Valley Civilisation,’ told The Hindu that the sighting of the terracotta works hinted at an ancient civilisation in Pampa Valley. The terracotta pieces were parts of Naga images, a male bust, female face and ornaments.
Mr. Puliyoor said he had sent the photographs of these pieces to historians M.G.S. Narayanan and M.R. Raghava Warrier and both were of the opinion that it must have been 1,000 to 2,000 years old. Mr. Warrier would visit Aranmula on Tuesday to examine the pieces, he said.
The broken pieces were shifted to a safe room at the State-run Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam at Aranmula on Sunday afternoon. Experts from the State Archaeology Department are expected to reach Aranmula to examine the pieces on Monday.
Joseph Scaria, historian and head of the Department of Malayalam at SB College, visited the site and called for excavation of the site.
Aranmula finds mention in the 13th century text ‘Tirunizhalmala’ that hints at the presence of education centres in Aranmula.