Thaikkal vessel sinking into oblivion?

The remains of an ancient vessel that was found at Thaikkal, near Cherthala.

The remains of an ancient vessel that was found at Thaikkal, near Cherthala.  

NO ONE talks about the Thaikkal vessel these days. The archaic vessel that was found near Cherthala could have thrown light on the State's maritime history. But it seems to be fast fading into the realms of oblivion.

Excavation of the vessel was followed by seminars and discussions on its historical relevance and the need to conserve it. Then came the action plan to set up a museum at Thaikkal and to conserve the vessel.

At least two years have passed after the vessel was excavated. Saline water and some layers of mud and sand have now gathered over the vessel.

The dream project was caught in political uncertainty and change of guard in the State Cabinet led to abandoning of the find.

Thousands of visitors from various parts of the State and outside who poured into the site of discovery showed the interest they had in the heritage find. But the authorities concerned have failed to reciprocate public enthusiasm.

The discovery of a stone anchor, which is believed to have been used by mariners, and the confirmation that the mollusc shells found in the ship belonged to a species that were found in the deep seas have failed to enthuse the administrators.

All that remains to be confirmed is the place where the vessel was made. Though it has been confirmed that it was not made using available Indian designs and architecture, doubts of its place of origin still linger in the minds of researchers. Some are of the view that its origin is in the Far East.

But this is being challenged by some others.

The uncertainty of the unique project is of concern to heritage enthusiasts.

Is it irreverence and callousness towards history and heritage or red tape that is to be blamed for the `neglect'?

By K.S. Sudhi

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