History resurfaces

City archaeologists and history students discover fragments of burial urns, ring stands belonging to the megalithic period in Sulapuram Village near Madurai

Published - July 14, 2016 04:35 pm IST - MADURAI:

RARE RELIC: Potsherds discovered at Sulapuram site. Photo: Special Arrangement

RARE RELIC: Potsherds discovered at Sulapuram site. Photo: Special Arrangement

In what could be a significant development following the Keezhadi village excavations, which brought to light one of the biggest human habitations of Sangam Age, archaeologists of Pandyanadu Centre for Historical Research (PCHR) in association with the School of Historical Studies of Madurai Kamaraj University have discovered potsherds of burial urns and ring stands belonging to the megalithic period in Sulapuram Village near T. Kallupatti in Madurai District.

“It assumes importance as this was the period when people learnt the art of constructing houses and lived together in a community, which is quite evident from the presence of dolmenoid cists. People constructed houses with burnt bricks and were familiar with the technology. These fragments of urns and ring stands were offerings made to the departed souls,” says C. Santhalingam, the PCHR secretary.

The team, comprising R.Udhayakumar and T.Muthupandi, members of PCHR and MKU research scholars C.Pandeeswaran and K.Palraj, collected the fragments found lying all over 10 acres at the foot hills of Western Ghats in Sulapuram Village.

The fragments were first noticed by the local residents and were reported to Pandeeswaran and Palraj who brought it to the knowledge of the research centre. “These potsherds resurfaced after the rains on the western ghats. When the rain water flowed down the slope it eroded the soil and brought them to the surface. Some artefacts like the ring stands and urns are intact while some are found in broken condition,” says Santhalingam.

The team also identified the presence of cairn circles. Most of the potsherds including plates, cups, pots and ring stands are black and red in colour. All are well burnished wares. The ring stands were used to hold big round bottom pots. No scripts or graffiti markings are found on the surface of the potsherds.

“It was a transition period. People worked in groups and erected dolmenoid cists in honour of their ancestors. Also that was the time Tamil Brahmi inscription also came into being. We tried in vain to find out any inscription on the potsherds,” he says.

Agriculture and fishing must have been the main occupation at that time with people gaining the knowledge of making iron tools, sickles, ploughs. With beads and broken bangle pieces strewn all over the place and potsherds and dolmenoid cists talking about the 2,500 years old history, Sulapuram could as well be another Keezhadi in the making as the artefacts are comparable and datable to the same period.

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