Tamil Nadu

TN State Archaeology makes encouraging finds near Gangaikondacholapuram

The brick walls exposed during the excavations at Maligaimedu in Gangaikondacholapuram in Ariyalur district.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The State Department of Archaeology has made some encouraging finds less than two months into the excavation at Maligaimedu near Gangaikondacholapuram, the capital of King Rajendra Chola I.

“Thirteen coarse brick walls have been exposed so far at the site. A copper coin, some potsherds and iron pieces have been collected. Besides, a piece of Chinese celedon ware, belonging to 10-11th century, has also been found,” R.Sivanandam, Deputy Director of Archaeology, told The Hindu.

“We have to send the coin for chemical cleaning but going by its circular shape we can assume it is a Chola period one. The presence of celedon ware is indicative of the trade ties that had existed [between the two countries] then,” Mr.Sivanandam said. “We have to dig further to assess the brick structures fully ” he added.

Gangaikondacholapuram was established by King Rajendra Chola I (1012-1044 CE) after his victorious expedition up to the Gangetic plains. Excavations conducted earlier at Maligaimedu had revealed the remains of a royal palace. The previous excavations were carried out at the site on a smaller scale on six occasions when portions of the Rajendra Chola’s palace were unearthed. Antiques and other items found in the excavations are on display at a museum at Gangaikondacholapuram.

The present excavation at the site began towards the end of February after conducting surveys using drone, thermal camers and ground penetrating radars, with the help of various agencies. Excavation is now underway at five trenches at the site. The department is looking to take up exploration on a larger scale now to find out more about the palace, the city and its streets.

The site is one of the seven identified for excavation in the State by the department. In January, T.Udayachandran, Principal Secretary and Commissioner of the Department, had announced plans to launch excavations at the seven sites after the projects were granted permission by the Central Advisory Board for Archaeology (CABA).

The excavation at the site is conducted under the supervision of S.Nandakumar, Director of site, and K.Bagyalakshmi, co-director, Umayal and Subhalakshmi, Archaeological Officers, besides three research assistants. About 30-40 workers are engaged in the excavation, which will go on till the beginning of the monsoon this season.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 11:06:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-state-archaeology-makes-encouraging-finds-near-gangaikondacholapuram/article34374162.ece

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