If ‘menhirs’ – tall monolithic stones were only what most people familiar with the comics knew as those that Obelix the Gaul liked to play with, think again!
Yes, while they are what the French comic characters created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo remain forever in the mind, they indicate they were among other structures from Iron Age, roughly between 1000 B.C. to 200 A.D. They are found at ancient burial grounds and are very much a part of tradition then, to put up menhirs next to loved ones, once has gone.
Coming to what this is all about - menhirs have been found in several locations across Telangana. But on Tuesday, a team of officials led by Assistant Director-Archaeology for Nalgonda district (Incharge), Nagaraju Pagadam stumbled upon a location barely 15 km from the district headquarters, Appajipeta, where they found what they were sure, was the tallest menhir, that easily towered 30 feet high.
The officials were on an exercise given to them by the Director-Archaeology, Visalatchy and they were asked randomly select a mandal and get right down to the village-level to map its archaeology. When contacted, an excited Nagaraju said he had just communicated the finding to the Director.
“Over the years thus far, we have seen menhirs only about 10, 12 or 15 feet tall. This one indicates that it must have a memorial for a big tribal leader/warrior of the Stone Age. The other stone structures that are usually found near monolithic burial fields of the Age are a circle of stones, dolmens, cists and avenues,” he said.
And the excitement did not end there – just a km away from Appajipeta is Lingalapadu (survey no. 194) where the officials found a 15-acre spread of ash-coloured stretch of land. As they starting poking with their sticks, they found pieces of redware, blackware, tanware, chapletware and rim-edged pottery and some huge bricks. What was surprising was hopscotch (pieces of stones that little girls play with, hopping from one to another), indicating that the location was indeed a habitation.