Sixteen metal idols of various deities were recovered from a private patta land at Peraiyur village in Pudukottai district on Tuesday.
The height of the recovered idols ranged from one-and-half feet to three feet. The idols included that of Natarajar, Vinayagar, Amman and Somaskandar, besides a soolam.
A revenue official said an earthmover was being used on the patta land near a water body in the afternoon to remove trees when a couple of idols were initially found underneath when earth was being scooped out at five feet depth.
On noticing the idols, the villagers immediately alerted revenue and police officials who landed at the spot. Thereafter, instructions were given to dig further when a row of 14 more buried idols were recovered.
The officials said the pedestals of some of the idols were found damaged. An idol of Nataraja was also found damaged along with its pedestal.
An official from the Archaeology department also visited the spot.
It is believed that the idols could be made of a panchaloka. However, it could be established only after scientific examination of the idols, said the official adding that the idols could have been buried several years ago.
The recovered idols were brought to the Tirumayam Taluk office and the matter was conveyed to the district authorities.
The idols would be handed to the Treasury, officials said.