An emerging centre of new discoveries

N.K. Ramesh, a young archaeological-anthropologist, has been credited with the discoveries of many Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Megalithic, and Neolithic tools and several Megalithic sites in North Kerala.  

Belying 19th century British geo-archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote’s argument on prehistoric habitation in the State, north Kerala is fast emerging as the centre of new discoveries on Stone Age cultures.

Several reasons have been cited to make this possible, particularly the enthusiasm shown by a young archaeological-anthropologist N.K. Ramesh, who is a senior assistant, Museum Project, Cultural Heritage Department of Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University at Tirur.

He has been credited with the discoveries of many Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Megalithic, and Neolithic tools and several Megalithic sites in North Kerala. Findings such as the typical Palaeolithic hand axe from Vanimel river basin (Kozhikode) and pointed choppers and side scarpers from Anakkayam and Cheerkkayam river basin of Chandragiri (Kasaragod) are some of the first-time evidence of Palaeolithic implements in these districts. This revealed that hand-axe fabrication technique in quartz raw material was also familiar among the prehistoric man in north Kerala. “In fact, archaeologist Killingworth Richard Utten Todd (KRU Todd) had discovered Mesolithic tools from Chevayur (Kozhikode), perhaps the first Stone Age evidence in Kerala during 1930-35.

But detailed studies then failed to take off,” says P. Rajendran, archaeologist, whose works since 1974 brought to light rich Palaeolithic evidence of myriad cultures in Kerala.

Giving the lie to Foote's view

Dr. Rajendran said that Foote had argued that Kerala was unsuitable for prehistoric habitation citing primary causes such as the absence of quartzite raw material, thick forest and heavy rainfall in the State. “Today the situation is different with more people coming to the forefront in archaeology. But only a few succeed in identifying the implements of the prehistoric era,” he says.

Mr. Ramesh, who does research under Dr. Rajendran’s guidance, has discovered Mesolithic tools from Panom forest region, which lies 1,500 feet, above sea level, bordering Kozhikode-Wayanad districts. “It is a Mesolithic factory site as waste material and hammer stone were discovered near a stream inside the forest,” he said.

He has been certified for the discoveries of Megalithic sites at Valayam, Varikkoli, Chekkad, Kuitheri, Ummathur, Perumundacheri, Mullankunnu, Pannimukku, and Muippra. The evidence include black and red ware, eagle head-like figures made of clay, iron chopper and dagger, black ware, smoke pipe, iron knife, iron sickle and several iron ingots.

The well-polished symmetrical shaped Stone Adzes made of quartz showed the high expertise in quartz fabrication of Neolithic people in Kozhikode, Mr. Ramesh said.

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Printable version | Oct 9, 2021 3:12:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/an-emerging-centre-of-new-discoveries/article8325856.ece

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