THE DISTRICT administration finally started working on the demarcation of land at Masol village where a joint team of Indo-French scientists had found one of the world’s oldest fossils. The administration formed a team of officials last week which will co-ordinate with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out a survey in the village.
The ASI officials have also sent a request for a photo station machine for carrying out a proper survey of the land in the village before acquisition of the land which is situated in forest areas. The district administration found it difficult to gather all the land records which delayed the process of surveying the sites. Most of the land is owned by private people while some area is under the ownership of the forest department.
“The district administration has delayed the process despite many letters we sent to them. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had already directed us to acquire the land and start excavation but due to unavailability of land records, the process was delayed. Now we are hopeful that land survey will start soon,” said an official of ASI. ASI, Deputy Superintendent (Archaeology), V S Rawat said that they had sent a demand letter for a photo station machine for carrying out correct land survey as the land is owned by many private people.
Deputy Commissioner D S Mangat said that they had supplied all the records which the ASI sought from them. He said that he had formed a team of revenue officials who would conduct a joint survey along with the ASI team once the ASI got the equipment which they had demanded from their department.
After completing the survey, the land will be acquired in the village and it will be declared as a protected site, following which the excavation work will start, said an official of ASI.
Research was conducted at the village by India-based Society for Archaeological and Anthropological Research (SAAR) and France’s National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS) and department of prehistory of the National Museum of Natural History. The research teams found fossils of fauna which were said to be dating back to 2.6 million years and they claimed them to be the oldest fossils. The discovery comprised 1,500 fossil finds over a period of seven years. Before these fossils, the oldest fossils were found in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia which are said to be 2.58 million years old.