Findings clearly suggest that they are sites of Neolithic settlement

A large number of prehistoric posthole sites of pillared halls have been found in the Gayathripuzha Valley — a left-bank tributary of the Bharathapuzha in Palakkad district.

The architectural activity has manifested in socket remains (cupules/postholes) found on several rock outcrops at the foothills Thenmala of the Western Ghats in the Palakkad gap zone.

As part of research work in the region, V. Sanal Kumar, Director of the Geo-Heritage Archaeology Research Centre, Palakkad, unearthed some such sites recently.

These sites were perhaps used for construction of mandapas (pillared halls) or some wooden structures. Out of 13 posthole sites with 24 pillared halls identified by Mr. Kumar, 12 are in the rocky plateaus, 3-5 km from Thenmala (Venkatamala) in the same belts on both sides of the banks of the Ikshumathipuzha — a tributary of the Gayathripuzha flowing through Kollengode, Muthalamada and Elevanchery — and the other one is found at Polpully, about 20 km away from Thenmala.

The sockets found on the wall of the rock shelter at Manjikkal Kotta of the Thenmala Valley are for fixing beams for top covering the top, and for steps to reach the top, he said.

Similar postholes on rock surface at Nagarjunakonda and Brahmagiri sites in Andhra Pradesh and other areas suggest that these must have been part of a Neolithic settlement between 4000 and 1000 B.C, studies have shown.

The unearthing of prehistoric Mesolithic artefacts, rock engravings and Megalithic monuments on the peripheries of the posthole sites of pillared halls and the similarity of these postholes to the the Nagarjunakonda and Brahmagiri sites, clearly suggest that the area was a Neolithic settlement site.

On an earlier occasion, Neolithic stone tools were found at Parambikulam of Muthalamada Grama Panchayat, Mr. Kumar said.

Recent studies have revealed that Palakkad district has several important prehistoric sites, which can be directly attributed to the geographical factors.

The presence of a mountain valley, granite hillocks, caves, natural rocks shelters, granite rocky plateaus, vast plain land, naturally protected mountain ranges, medium temperature, average rainfall, a natural drainage system, water storage in ponds, availability of food products and accessibility to peninsular India through the Palakkad gap might have encouraged the prehistoric people to settle in this area.

They changed their habitation from the caves and rock shelters of the hillocks and mountain ranges to the granite plateaus, surrounded by agricultural land.

All Neolithic findings from the district have been published in research thesis in the Department of Studies in Geography, University of Mysore, says Mr. Kumar.

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