It may be recalled that the government sanctioned Rs 3 crore in December last for archaeological excavations at various locations across Tamil Nadu and for on field study in five locations, including Vasalai in Vellore district by the University of Madras.
Based on this information, Tamilvanan visited Vasalai village 8 km from Gudiyattam on the Palamaneri Road where he was informed by locals that some persons claiming to be from the state archaeology department visited the village some six months ago, dug up an area, claimed to have found pot shards and bones and then left after filling up the pit.
Talking to DT Next, Tamilvanan said, “the villagers did not mince words when they described the dig as a farce. They said the pot shards found could be from old Pongal pots and the bones might be that of some animal.”
The area is surrounded by farmlands and the common feeling among locals is how somebody from Chennai could pick up pot shards when we have never found anything, Tamilvanan said. However, after some convincing as he was a local they took Tamilvanan to the ‘excavated and closed site’ at the foot of a nearby hill where he noticed “that the grass was yet to grow fully in the dug up area.”
Asked if anybody from the archaeology department had visited the village recently, they replied “some officials including the local VAO and RI (revenue inspector) came to the village and made enquiries about the availability of lodgings without mentioning the reason. We replied in the negative and they left,” the villagers told Tamilvanan. Elaborating, Tamilvanan said, “the location bears no resemblance to a Paleolithic site as such sites are usually found near rivers. Also there was no cave nearby to indicate a stone age site.
However, the locations yielded three hero stones of the Nayak period (13th 14th century) one of which was broken while the other two depict a local chief’s wives committing Sati. “The unbroken stones are worshipped by locals,” Tamilvanan added.