Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Ancient boat likely to be preserved at excavation site


The Hindu
By A. Harikumar
July 19, 2005

ALAPPUZHA: The ancient boat excavated jointly by the State Archaeological Department and the State Institute of Archaeology at Kadakkarappally, near Thykkal, in Cherthala taluk is likely to be preserved at the site itself, modelled after a similar project in Denmark. The ship is at present lying at the excavated site itself.

Official sources said the experts, after a detailed study of the vessel, have recommended that the only practical means to protect the ship was to preserve the ship in a tank built around it at the site.

The experts have found that the wood of the vessel disintegrated quickly when it came into contact with dry air.

Hence, it was difficult to take it out of the site and to transport it to another place and any such effort would incur a huge expense for the State Government.

Earlier, the State Government had considered relocating the ship to another site to preserve it.

But the move resulted in widespread protest, as the local people wanted the ship to be preserved at the excavated site itself.

The sources said that the ship was at present located on a private property the land needed to be acquired. As a preliminary step, the Alappuzha District Collector has sent the land survey details of the property to the Archaeological Department.

Protected monument
Now, the State Government has to issue a notification declaring the ship as a protected monument and take steps to acquire the land.

The ship was excavated in 2002. A trench, 30-metre long, 12-metre wide and and 5-metre deep, was dug around the vessel. Archaeologists had recovered several artefacts and animal remains from the ship.

The artefacts and the wood used to make the ship were subjected to dating tests, including C-14 dating tests, to calculate the age of the ship.

The artefacts were shifted to various museums across the State.

After initial experiments, it was deduced that the wood used to make the ship was around 1,000 years old.

Latest inferences, state that the vessel was a sailboat used to carry goods over short distances and its age might be around 500 years, sources added.


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