After the Keezhadi project was halted in September last year, the third phase of the excavation has been announced to begin by mid-March, reported The Times of India.
The first phase of excavation had begun in January 2015 and 59 trenches were dug in the private coconut groves at Keezhadi in Sivaganga district till September 2015. The second phase of the excavation started in March 2016 and continued till September. About 43 trenches were dug in this phase.
The Archaeological Survey of India had found 5,600 artefacts, including semi-precious stone ornaments and ivory combs, from 102 trenches on this site after two seasons of excavation.
The Times of India reported that the sanction was delayed by six months and it will start next month as soon as the funds are released by the Archeological Survey of India.
Many questions were raised when the project was halted in September. ASI director general had then said that the excavations had been paused and not stopped.
Moreover, he said that excavators are supposed to submit a brief report every year on the outcome of the excavation and an annual report. A brief report has already been filed but an interim annual report is awaited.
In September, a case was filed before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court asking the ASI to stop sending the findings to Bengaluru for examination. The court had initially asked the ASI not to transfer it from the site, but later agreed to transport the findings to Dehradun.