Friday, February 18, 2005


Underwater ancient city, temple wall uncovered by tsunami


Jerusalem Post
February 18, 2005

Officials from the Archeological Survey of India
investigate an ancient artifact which was uncovered
by the Dec. 26 tsunami near the Shore Temple at
Mahabalipuram, 45 miles south of Madras, India,
Thursday Feb. 17, 2005. Archaeologists began
shoreline and underwater excavations of an ancient
port city and parts of a temple which was uncovered
by the receding waters of the recent tsunami that
struck south Asia on Dec. 26.

(AP Photo M. Lakshman)

MAHABALIPURAM, India - Archaeologists have begun underwater excavations of what is believed to be an ancient city and parts of a temple uncovered by the tsunami off the coast of a centuries-old pilgrimage town.

Three rocky structures with elaborate carvings of animals have emerged near the coastal town of Mahabalipuram, battered by the Dec. 26 Asian tsunami. As the tsunami's waves receded, the force removed sand deposits that had covered the structures, which appear to belong to a port city built in the seventh century, said T. Satyamurthy, a senior archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India.

Mahabalipuram is already famous for ancient, intricately carved shore temples which have been declared a World Heritage site and are visited each year by thousands of Hindu pilgrims and tourists. According to descriptions by early British travel writers, the area was also home to seven pagodas, six of which were submerged by the sea.

The government-run archaeological society and navy divers began underwater excavations of the area on Thursday.
"The tsunami has exposed a bas relief which appears to be part of a temple wall or a portion of the ancient port city. Our excavations will throw more light on these," Satyamurthy told The Associated Press by telephone from Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.

The two-meter (six-foot) rocky structures that have emerged in Mahabalipuram, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Madras, include an elaborately carved head of an elephant and a horse in flight. Above the elephant's head is a small square-shaped niche with a carved statue of a deity. Another structure uncovered by the tsunami has a reclining lion sculpted on it.

According to archaeologists, lions, elephants and peacocks were common motifs used to decorate walls and temples during the Pallava period in the seventh and eighth centuries.

"These structures could be part of the legendary seven pagodas. With the waters receding and the coastline changing, we expect some more edifices to be exposed," Satyamurthy said.

At least 99 people were killed by the tsunami in Mahabalipuram and surrounding villages, and dozens of tourist shops near the temples were destroyed.


Articles related.

Tsunami Uncovers Ancient City in India ...WTOP Radio
Fri Feb 18 12:05:00 UTC 2005

Indian archaeologists excavating underwater ancient city
Fri Feb 18 11:28:00 UTC 2005

Ancient city uncovered off Indian coast ...IOL: Independent Online
Fri Feb 18 10:51:00 UTC 2005

Tsunami uncovers underwater ancient city ...Lexington Herald Leader
Fri Feb 18 10:41:00 UTC 2005

Tsunami uncovers underwater ancient city ...Bradenton Herald
Fri Feb 18 10:29:00 UTC 2005


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?