‘Bone ornaments’ excavated at Narmetta

The history of jewellery and decoration has been pushed back by about 4,000 years in Telangana with the recent excavation of 50 pieces of bone ornaments at the hamlet of Narmetta, an agricultural village on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Shaped like a rhombus with round markings in the middle and circular indentation, the pieces led archaeologists to surmise that they might have been used as jewellery.

Now, samples of the bone ornaments are being analysed at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad.

According to K.P. Rao, a historian and professor at the University of Hyderabad, who led the Gachibowli megalithic excavation that documented the earliest megalithic site to 2,200 BC, “Bone ornaments have not been found to date in India. We had perforated teeth, but I am hearing this for the first time,” he said.

Along with the small bone ornaments, the officials of the Department of Archaeology and Museum also unearthed one of the biggest capstones in the region. Weighing about 42 tonnes, officials had to requisition a crane to manoeuvre the stone aside and have a look at what lay underneath.

“The season was fantastic for us in terms of findings that have given us a better understanding about megalithic history in this region. Once the bone samples are analysed, we will know which animal they were made of,” said N. R. Visalatchy of DAM.

A first in Telangana

The 20-acre site in the agriculture village in Siddipet was excavated earlier, but in 2017 the archaeologists began digging at a raised mound where their first discovery was an anthromorphic menhir. “Anthromorphic menhirs have been documented in multiple locations in south India between 1300 BC and 200 BC but this is the first time they have been found in Telangana,” said Ramulu Naik, a DAM official.

The 2.95-metre menhir was still in a vertical position. “The tradition of worship of anthromorphic figurines still continues among some of the tribes in India. So, I am not surprised at the finding,” said Prof. Rao.

The team also found four perfectly preserved fire stands used by people to keep themselves warm. The findings of pottery and other items was made at a depth of three metres.

“The people who lived there had evolved burial norms which we are following even now. The head is on the south side and the feet in the north direction,” said G. Nagaraju, who was part of the team that excavated the site.

“These findings are just a sample. Many of the other rock formations and burial sites have been disturbed and destroyed by the people living nearby so that they can cultivate their land. We have to carry on our excavations quickly as I don’t think any of these sites will be allowed to remain in their present status,” said Mr. Nagaraju.

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Printable version | Jun 8, 2021 11:16:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bone-ornaments-excavated-at-narmetta-vertical-samples-being-analysed/article19436676.ece

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