Largest Neolithic axe gets a new lease of life

The Neolithic granite axe, exhibited at the Pazhassi Raja Archaeological Museum in Kozhikode, is 22 cm long and weighs 1.48 kg.  

A 3,000-year-old axe, purportedly the largest from the Neolithic period so far discovered in the State, has got a new lease of life.

The 22-cm-long granite axe, weighing 1.48 kg, which has been lying unattended at a village office in Kasaragod district for the past two years, has been finally shifted to the Pazhassi Raja Archaeological Museum at East Hill in Kozhikode.

K. Krishnaraj of the Department of Archaeology told The Hindu on Monday that the axe was unearthed when workers were digging a well in the compound of a resident of Kayyur in Cheemeni grama panchayat. “It was found 5.6 metres deep suggesting the rich culture of the New Stone Age in the region. A week ago, it was shifted to the Kozhikode museum,” he said.

Axes shaped out of granite or basalt belonging to the Neolithic period have been discovered from other parts of the State, and their length is by and large between 12 cm and 16 cm. A large cache of axes was unearthed at Kottammamthode near Kalady, indicating the prevalence of Neolithic culture in Perumbavoor and adjoining regions in Ernakulam district. Similarly, axes were discovered at Thiruvambady in Kozhikode and more recently from Edakkal caves in Wayanad district.

“However, this largest axe had rough markings, possibly implying that it was mounted on a wooden handle. Certainly, the tool was used for forest clearance. Further studies should be conducted as more evidence is emerging on the rich Neolithic culture in Kerala,” Mr. Krishnaraj said. Discoveries made from rock-cut chambers and caves in and around Kayyur — Cheemeni and Cheruvathur villages — earlier had revealed a continuous habitation from Neolithic to the Megalithic culture. Some historians had earlier argued that Neolithic culture was not widespread in Kerala. But new findings suggested that axes used in prehistoric era were meant for agriculture.

In fact, the final stages of evolution were associated with agrarian activities before passing into Iron Age, the archaeologist said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 12:03:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/largest-neolithic-axe-gets-a-new-lease-of-life/article19298664.ece

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