State to hold excavations in Korkai

Oceanographic experts’ guidance will be sought, says Minister

Published - October 20, 2021 01:06 am IST - THOOTHUKUDI

Tracing the past:  Minister Thangam Thennarasu inspecting excavation works in Korkai in Thoothukudi district.  N. Rajesh

Tracing the past: Minister Thangam Thennarasu inspecting excavation works in Korkai in Thoothukudi district. N. Rajesh

With the ancient port town of the Pandya kingdom, Korkai, yielding artefacts, proving its maritime trade connections with Rome, China and Egypt, the State government is taking steps to conduct archaeological excavations here, with guidance from oceanographic experts, Minister for Industries, Tamil Culture and Archaeology Thangam Thennarasu has said.

Speaking to reporters in Korkai on Tuesday after reviewing the ongoing excavations, Mr. Thennarasu said excavations in Korkai, with guidance from oceanographic experts, was necessary to prove the town’s age and incomparable rich culture. The ancient port town had yielded several artefacts to prove its maritime business contacts with China, Rome and Egypt during the earlier excavations, he said.

Remains of houses, drainage pipes, conch bangles, baked tiles, iron coins and pots, among other things, have been recovered from the site, revealing it to be the cradle of a rich civilisation even in 785 BCE.

“Since Korkai was a harbour under the Pandya kings, we are in touch with experts from the Indian Oceanographic Research Institute for carrying out excavations with their guidance and technical expertise. We will start excavations once the strategies are finalised,” Mr. Thennarasu said.

While promising that the artefacts of Korkai would be fittingly showcased in the Porunai (Tamirabharani) civilisation museum, which will come up in Tirunelveli, the Minister said the government would also consider the idea of creating an on-site museum in Korkai.

The Minister inspected ongoing excavations in Sivakalai, where 3,200-year-old burial urns, with paddy, are on display for the first time.

“We are also in the process of preparing an integrated document on Sivakalai, Korkai and Adichanallur civilisations,” Mr. Thennarasu said. Deputy Director of the Archaeology Department Sivanandam and field director Thangadurai were present.

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