The Madras High Court today sought the stands of the commissioner of the Archaeological Survey of India and others on a plea for setting up a museum for antiquities unearthed from Adhichanallur excavation site in Tuticorin district since 2004. A Madurai bench of the high court sought the stands of the ASI Commissioner, Chennai, the Bengaluru superintending archaeologist and the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department commissioner also by August 2, the next date for the hearing. On a plea by by one S Kamaraj, a historian, the division bench of justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan also issued notices to the principal secretary for archaeology education, and Tamil Nadu's Youth welfare and Sports Development Department. In his petition, Kamaraj submitted that after a gap of about 100 years, the fourth phase of excavations were carried out at the site in 2004, where an extraordinary large burial site spread over 114 acres, besides habitation sites were discovered. Urns with Tamil Brahmi scripts (100-200 BC), iron weapons and bronze utensils too were unearthed, he said. However, he said, no report had been published so far with regard to the excavation, which was discontinued though the site was more than 3,500 years old and could throw a lot of light on ancient Tamil culture. The petitioner submitted that in 1876, during the first excavation, 5,872 objects were unearthed by a German, Dr Jagor and later a British national unearthed 5,800 objects, all of which had been taken to Chennai. As per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, the officials should have continued the excavation and submitted a report, he claimed. Though many had written about the ASI site and sought publication of a report by the ASI, no action had been taken so far, he alleged. Hence, he prayed the court to intervene and direct the ASI to resume the excavation and display the objects unearthed in a museum.
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