One among the ten types of burial relics found in State
The Department of Anthropology of the Kannur University has identified a laterite cave at Melathiyadam in Cheruthazham panchayath, near Kannur, as a megalithic dome.
The team led by Head of the Department Gregory and archaeologist and UGC research scientist P. Rajendran, during a recent field trip, identified the dome as one among the ten types of megalithic burial monuments found in the State.
The structure, made of hard laterite, has a circular top and a rectangular entrance on its south-eastern side. The floor of the hemispherical dome is partly filled with ferruginous (containing iron oxide or rust) water deposit.
The round porthole and entrance could have been covered with laterite rock slabs earlier, which could be unearthed after an excavation below the water deposit, Dr. Gregory said.
The monument is similar to the three domes discovered by Dr. Rajendran at Kuttikkunnu in Sreekandapuram in 1996. While such chambers are usually found with megalithic artefacts such as pottery, beads, iron implements, and even human remains, no such things have been found at Melathiyadam. The excavation team suspect these to be buried deep under the deposit.
A laterite temple existing five metres away on the southern side of the dome has structures of a stupa, false windows, doors, and a waterhole. A laterite rectangular block with a gneiss flat rock fixed above is found in front of the temple, as described by Dr. Gregory.
The flat surface of the small slab facing east is one of the earliest ‘symbolic idol,’ and a similar worship site earlier discovered by Dr. Rajendran was at Abhayagiri at a Kani tribal settlement, near Kulathooppuzha, in Kollam district in 1995, Dr. Gregory said.