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18 January 2012
Indian megalithic sites project begins

'Discovering Idukki', a project to explore and document the rich heritage of the Kerala district in the very southern tip of India has begun. In the first phase, a heritage museum will be opened in Painavu by April of this year.
     Archaeological explorations will be conducted at various dolmens in Marayur, and sites where burial urns were excavated, especially in the high ranges. Mr T. Rajesh, officer-in-charge of the project said that the study may open unknown chapters of the Kerala spice trade during the Stone Age and later, adding that the Muzaris heritage has a strong link to the hill country because cardamom is indigenous to the area.
     So far only individual studies have been done at megalithic sites in the district. The project envisages site protection and preservation, as well as possible restoration in the case of dolmens damaged by human interference.
     Rajesh said that the excavations in Idukki will provide valuable data on life during the Megalithic period. The items collected will be made available to the heritage museum.

Edited from The Hindu (14 January 2012)

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