Southern Tamil Nadu has several hundred archaeological sites, filled with thousands of treasures, including idols, pottery, beads, burial artefacts, etc. However, there are challenges in maintaining these historic pieces.
Speaking to DT Next, Dr C Santhalingam, Secretary, Pandya Nadu Centre for Historical Research, said, “In most museums only specimens of the idols and artefacts are kept and many of the original idols are still preserved elsewhere.”
However, some of the excavations cannot be preserved in this manner. He quoted the example of Gangaikondacholapuram, where the remnants of the basement of a palace were found. However, it was damaged due to the monsoon rains, wind and sunlight. Many of the precious structures too get damaged in this manner, said Santhalingam.
According to him, one way of preserving idols is to polish them with Poly Vinyl Alcohol(PVA) which is a common method and with regular care, an idol can be maintained in a fairly good condition.
Superintending Archeologist, PS Sriraman, in-charge of the Keezhadi archaeological site in Sivaganga district, said that the artefacts are carefully numbered and preserved. “We have a proper account of all the unearthed artefacts, which are carefully stored at the regional head office in Mysuru,” he said.