Encouraged by the archaeological findings in Keeladi that testified to the existence of an ancient urban Tamil civilisation, the Department of Archaeology has decided to launch excavations at seven more sites and field studies in two places.
“The Central Advisory Board for Archaeology (CABA) granted permission for the projects on January 5. This is the first time the State will have more than 10 excavation projects by different agencies, including the State Archaeology Department and various universities,” said T. Udayachandran, Principal Secretary and Commissioner of the Department.
The Tamil Nadu government has allocated ₹3 crore this year, for carrying out excavations in the State.
Mr. Udayachandran said 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.
One fireld study will be conducted to find new Stone Age sites in Krishngiri, Vellore, Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai and Salem districts. Another field study will be done in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts to find the Thamiraparani river civilisation.
“The excavations and field studies ares a milestone in the efforts to restore the ancient cultural greatness of Tamil through scientific methods,” Mr Udayachandran explained. He said that besides the excavations and studies, proposals for excavations by universities, departments and agencies, have also been sent to CABA.
Sharma Centre for Heritage Education has sought permission for excavation in Chenrayanpalayam in Tiruvallur district while Alagappa University has proposed to excavate in Ilanthakarai in Sivaganga district. Tamil University has submitted a proposal for Moolapalayam in Coimbatore district; the University of Madras for Vasalai in Vellore district and Tamil Nadu Open University for Porpanaikottai in Pudukottai.
Mr. Udayachandran said there was a renewed interest in archaeology and culture in the State and the new excavations would help reveal the pluralist culture of Tamil Nadu to the world.