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12 August 2013
Project to protect Indian megalithic sites

The India State Archaeology Department will soon launch a mega project to identify and explore megalithic monuments lying scattered across the Country. The initiative is a run-up to a mission to identify and protect megalithic sites and artifacts of historical importance that go unnoticed and unprotected on private lands.
     Experts and researchers will conduct the statewide exploration to identify the sites. The initiative comes in the backdrop of the limitations the department faces to protect monuments in areas under private ownership. "Numerous megalithic monuments like rock-cut caves, muniyaras (dolmens), Jain pillars and umbrella rocks are laying unidentified and unprotected in different parts of the state," said Dr Premkumar, director of the Archaeological Department.
     "A survey on archaeological remains in two panchayats (local self-governments) in Idukki district has already been completed. Many interesting findings have emerged out of the study and we will publish a record of the sites and findings soon. Similar surveys would be conducted in all districts and each district will have a book on the sites of archaeological importance, especially megalithic sites," Dr Premkumar added. "I have also submitted a proposal with detailed plan to buy and protect megalithic sites that fall under private ownership."
     A detailed study was also planned to understand the archaeological history of Madayippara in Kannur. "A rock-cut cave was found on a private land near the Jagannath Temple in Thalassery recently. Another site was found in Kozhikode," Dr Premkumar said. An archaeologist had visited the site near the Jagannath Temple to assess the period.

Edited from The New Indian Express (12 August 2013)

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