The Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology (TNSDA) commenced its excavation at the megalithic site in Sivagalai, Thoothukudi district on Monday. The excavation which was scheduled to begin in March was postponed due to the restrictions of COVID-19 lockdown.
According to reports, the excavation at the Sivagalai site was initiated by A Manickam, a history teacher from the village. This is the first detailed excavation in Sivagalai and it is hoped that the artefacts that will be discovered here will be helpful to track the lives of the people who lived in this village centuries ago. The excavation began on a 10x10 square metre area in the presence of M Prabakaran, the director for the project in Sivagalai. A team of archaeological officer T Thangadurai and 10 researchers will be working at the site. Eight persons from Sivagalai have also been roped in by the department to carry out the excavation.
The government has sanctioned Rs 31 lakh for the excavation work in Sivagalai and Rs 28 lakh in Adichanallur site. Along with Sivagalai, the excavation at Adichanallur also commenced on Saturday.
The interest in the Sivagalai site began in 2015 when Manickam found similarities between the artefacts he found in Sivagalai and those found in Adichanallur burial site. Manickam had found over a hundred artefacts which showed signs of civilisation along the course of the Thamirabarani river. He had stumbled upon these artefacts while he was on a field trip with his students a few years ago. He had repeatedly petitioned the Chief Ministerâ€™s Special cell about these artefacts which he claimed were older than those found in Adichanallur.
He had shared these findings with the TNSDA in September 2017, following which the department appointed an expert committee to look into the matter. After the committee concurred with Manickamâ€™s claims that Sivagalai could have been a megalithic burial site, the department decided to expand the excavation to Sivagalai as well.