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Friday, July 13, 2001

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dated July 13, 1951: Discovering a submerged city

From the Editorials: ``This city, therefore, like a mighty galleon with all her apparel mounted, streamers flying, and tacking perfect, seems floating along the noiseless depths of ocean; and often- times in glassy calms, through the translucid atmosphere of water that now stretches like an air-woven awning above the silent encampment, mariners from every clime look down into her courts and terraces, count here the gates and number the spires of her churches.'' Such was the magnificent vision of Savannah-la-Mar conjured by De Quincey out of the fumes of opium. If there should be something in the local legends to which the learned Vice-Chancellor of the Annamalai University has lent a sympathetic ear, the sea near Kaveripoompattinam, traditional site of the ancient capital of the Imperial Chozhas, may yield up marvels no less imposing to painstaking archaeologists. The Tamizh classic `Silappadhikaram' refers to this great city whose adventurous seamen were known to Rome and are mentioned in `Periplus'. How and when the old city was washed away by the sea is not known... But the continued existence of a number of significant, and some strikingly beautiful, relics on the water- edge would seem to warrant the supposition that there might be some truth in the story that part of the city lies submerged, but still more or less intact.

``Vice-Chancellor Dr. Manavala Ramanujam suggested to the Defence Department of the Government of India efforts to take underground photographs of the sea in that area and to explore the site with submarine vessels. The GOI have pleaded lack of necessary facilities. But surely this is a matter in which our enterprising Archaeological Department should take an interest''.

A hitch in Kaesong

A stumbling block had arisen to hold up Korean cease-fire negotiations, with the Communists refusing to permit 20 correspondents to go to Kaesong. An armed guard turned back the correspondents at a control point nine miles from where the talks were under way. Vice-Admiral Charles Turner Joy disclosed that General Ridgway, U.N. Supreme Commander, was insisting that United Nations reporters must be allowed to enter Kaesong.

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