11 Mar 2018 16:47 IST

ASI to begin trial excavation of ancient site at Talagunda

Archaeologists believe the site was the capital of the Kadamba dynasty

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will soon embark on a trial excavation of a site at Talagunda, about 80 km north of Shivamogga town in Karnataka, which archaeologists believe was the capital of the Kadamba dynasty.

According to the ASI’s superintending archaeologist (Bengaluru circle) K Moortheswari, the “scientific clearance” will begin seven to 10 days.

“The site selected is of great archaeological importance. We are doing scientific clearance (trial excavation) in the area adjacent to the previous excavation site to find out whether there are structures related to it. There is a Pranaveshwara temple in the area,” the ASI official told PTI.

The excavation will be carried out in 7.5 acre of land at Talagunda, which the archaeologists believe was the capital of the Kadamba dynasty and Pranaveshwara Temple was an important study centre.

The Kadamba dynasty, which ruled for almost 200 years, is believed to be founded in 350 AD by Mayura Sharman. They were Kannada speaking natives and got the name Kadamba due to many Kadamba trees near their settlement.

What inspired archaeologists to carrying out excavation in Talagunda was discovery of gold coins and copper plate inscription.

“Till this copper plate inscription was found, it was believed that the Halmidi inscription, which dates back to 450 AD, found in Hassan district was the oldest Kannada language inscription. However, this copper plate inscription found in Talagunda precedes 80 years to the Halmidi script. It dates back to 370 AD,” retired superintending archaeologist of ASI T M Keshava said.

The ASI found the coins and copper plates while rebuilding the Pranaveshwara temple.

An ASI officer said, “The temple was in a dilapidated condition. We removed the stones giving each one of them definite number. While removing the foundation stone, we found the copper plate and gold coins at a corner of the temple.”

The challenge, however, is the land selected for excavation is now in the hands of some people.

“In 1954, the land was handed over to the ASI to carry out excavation. In absence of adequate staff, the ASI officials could not maintain the property. Later, a few land-grabbers created bogus land records and occupied the 7.5 acres of land. Now, we are convincing them to help us out scientific clearance,” another ASI officer said.

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