The Tamil Nadu government on Friday announced an allocation of Rs 12.21 crore for the establishment of a 'world class' museum to display the findings from the Keezhadi Archaeological site. In addition to this, a sum of over Rs 30 crore has been promised to the Department of Archaeology to continue their exploration in four more clusters.
The fifth phase of excavation at the site ended in October 2019 and over 900 artefacts were unearthed. The sixth phase meanwhile began at the end of January. It was revealed towards the end of the excavations that there might be a possible link between the scripts of Indus Valley Civilisation and the Tamil Brahmi script discovered at site. The state archaeological department also reported the existence of an urban civilisation on the riverbed of Vaigai that was contemporary to the Gangetic planes civilisation in northern India.
"The findings of the archaeological excavations at Keezhadi have generated immense interest amongst the public about the antiquity of Tamil civilisation,” said Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam, who was announcing the Budget, “The Department of Archaeology has secured approval of the Archaeological Survey of India for archaeological explorations in four more clusters which will reveal more about ancient Tamil civilisation. The Budget Estimates for 2020-21 includes a provision of Rs 31.93 crore for the Department of Archaeology."
This is a large leap for the department which had only been allotted Rs 10.19 crore in the previous Budget.
In November last year, the department had organised an exhibition in Madurai and kept it open for the public to come view the items excavated in the fourth and fifth phases. Six thousand two hundred items including jewellery, pots, and faces made of clay were shown to the public. They had also set up a virtual reality corner where you could have the experience of walking around the excavated sites.
Speaking to TNM, T Udhayachandran, Commissioner of TN Archeological Department, had then said, "When you visit the excavation site, you can see the live action but we couldn't display the items category wise. But in this exhibition we can categorise from iron objects to pottery. In addition to this, there will be cultural text showing evidence of links to Sangam literature. So you can get a better understanding of the items."