Context: The Kodumanal excavation of 10 pots and bowls, instead of the usual three or four pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn-circle, throw light on burial rituals and the concept of after life in megalithic culture.
More on the news:
- A team from the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai has recently identified 250 cairn-circles at the village in Erode district.
- Earlier excavations revealed that the site served as a trade-cum-industrial center from 5th century BCE to 1st century BCE.
- The rectangular chambered cists, each two metres long and six metres wide, are made of stone slabs, and the entire grave is surrounded by boulders that form a circle.
- Previous excavations have revealed that multi-ethnic groups lived at the village, located about 500 metres away from the Noyyal river.
Belief in afterlife
- The grave could be possibly of a village head or the head of the community as the size of two boulders, each facing east and west, are bigger than the rest of the boulders.
- Believing that the deceased person will get a new life after death, pots and bowls filled with grains were placed outside the chambers.
- Megaliths refer to large stone structures that were constructed either as burial sites or as commemorative sites.
- The burial sites are the sites with actual burial remains, such as dolmenoid cists (box-shaped stone burial chambers), cairn circles (stone circles with defined peripheries), and capstones (distinctive mushroom-shaped burial chambers found mainly in Kerala).
- Commemorative megaliths include memorial sites.
- In India, archaeologists trace the majority of the megaliths to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC), though some sites precede the Iron Age, extending up to 2000 BC.
- Megaliths are spread across the Indian subcontinent.
- The majority of megalithic sites are found in Peninsular India, concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.
- Even today, a living megalithic culture endures among some tribes such as the Gonds of central India and the Khasis of Meghalaya.
- Following map shows distribution of megalithic sites in peninsular India
Source:https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/excavation-at-kodumanal-reveals-megalithic-belief-in-afterlife/article31862510.ece#:~:text=250 cairn-circles identified at,of afterlife in megalithic culture.
Image Source: TH