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Phase 5 of Keezhadi excavations to look for sub-surface structures

The fifth phase of excavations at Keezhadi is set to begin on June 12. The excavation team will be looking for structures beneath the surface, aided by information provided by the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) and Bharathidasan University.

Phase 5 of Keezhadi excavations to look for sub-surface structures
The government has sanctioned funds for the fifth phase of excavations
[Credit: The Hindu]
The State Archaeological Department, which took over the excavations from the Archaeological Survey of India, has tied up with IIG, a technical agency. “IIG is based in Mumbai and they came all the way to Keezhadi. They did a survey for 10 days and have given us a preliminary report [detailing] where exactly structures would be available underneath the surface,” an official in the department told The Hindu.

“The government has sanctioned ₹55 lakh for this phase of excavations. This phase will be undertaken for a period of one year. A team of 10 archaeologists will undertake the excavations; it will be led by Dr. Sivanandam,” Minister for Tamil Culture K. Pandiarajan said.

According to the official, the survey would look for structures underneath the surface, which would be indicated as anomalies in the report. “They have zeroed-in on a few places, based on which we are locating the places to dig. This time, we expect some major structures to be revealed (during the excavations),” the official said.

“What lies beneath, we will get in a 3D view. These will not be exact pictures, but we will get a graphical representation of anomalies. We are also tying up with Bharathidasan University to undertake a ground-penetrating radar survey,” the official said. According to the official, the ASI had selectively used magnetometers during excavations earlier. “These magnetometers have also been used in Angkor Wat and other places. These two organisations came in handy for us this time to identify the locations,” the official said.

Meanwhile, archaeologists have also found evidence of Keezhadi being part of a possible cluster of places. A burial site very near to Keezhadi, at a place called Konthagai, seems to be part of the cluster. “Manalur and Agaram could be part of the Keezhadi cluster as well,” the official said, adding that the next phase of excavations could be in these areas.

In the previous phase of excavations in 2017-18, the team found various antiquities, including terracotta artefacts and copper, gold, iron and ivory objects, including an ivory dice. A total of 5,820 antiquities were found. The team also found an animal bone, which will be sent to the Centre for Microbiology in Hyderabad for testing. A detailed report on it is expected soon.

Author: T.K. Rohit | Source: The Hindu [June 10, 2019]


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