Staff Reporter

Tiruvannamalai: A huge megalithic burial site said to have belonged to 3rd Century B.C. has been unearthed near Tiruvannamalai on Tuesday.

Human skeletal remains, iron daggers and a sword, decorated red and black earthen wares, a water jar with an exquisite stand, number of other potteries have been excavated from the cist, a box-like structure made of six huge undisturbed slab stones.

When a farmer of Sambandhanur near Tiruvannamalai was tilling a piece of land on the roadsidem, he stumbled upon the cap stone of this huge site. The slab stone looked odd and gave a tip that there was some hollow structure underneath. People thought there could be treasure and thronged the place. On receiving information Collector (in-charge) S. Viswanathan and tahsildar Murugan visited the spot and made arrangements to excavate the site immediately.

Archaeologist and professor of history R. Sekar who visited the site said that the sophistication with which the burial had been made points to the importance of the person buried at the site. Daggers and sword found with the skeletal remains should be used by the person, possibly a male, buried there. “He should be a small ruler or a head of clan or a chief of army. If it was an ordinary person there would not be so many grave goods accompanying his body,” he said.

After digging earth from the side, officials have removed the one side stone and recovered the objects from the burial. All the other five sides are still intact and it looks like a huge sub-surface niche.

“Thickness of the awesome cap stone is more than one and half feet. In no other megalithic burial site in the State such a huge cap stone has been found. The stone has 15 feet length and 8 feet width. There is a round shaped opening in one side of the wall stone. This means to allow ‘the spirit of the person buried there to come out and get in’ according to the legend of the ancient people. The style of the cist burial and materials found inside indicate that the burial belongs to approximately 3rd century B.C. or earlier. This site is comparable only to such megalithic burials unearthed in places like Adityanallur and Kodumanal. However Sambandhanur site seems superior both in terms of size and antiquity” Mr. Sekar said.

“The place would be made a monument and in order to enable people to visit the place and to remember what kind of people lived in their neighbourhood in the ages of distant past” Tahsildar Murugan said. Epigraphist and Tamil professor V. Nedunchezhiyan also accompanied the mission.

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