Tamil Nadu

Excavation at Kodumanal reveals megalithic belief in afterlife

The burial site, dating back to megalithic period, that has been unearthed at Kodumanal village in Erode district.   | Photo Credit: M. Govarthan

The Kodumanal excavation of 10 pots and bowls, instead of the usual three or four pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn-circle, threw light on burial rituals and the concept of afterlife in megalithic culture.

A team from the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai, led by J. Ranjith, Archaeology Officer and Project Director for the Kodumanal excavation, has identified 250 cairn-circles at the village in Erode district. Earlier excavations revealed that the site served as a trade-cum-industrial centre from 5th century BCE to 1st century BCE.

The rectangular chambered cists, each two metres long and six metres wide, are made of stone slabs, and the entire grave is surrounded by boulders that form a circle.

“The grave could be of a village head or the head of the community as the size of two boulders, each facing east and west, are bigger than other boulders,” said an expert coordinating the excavation. Believing that the deceased person will get a new life after death, pots and bowls filled with grains were placed outside the chambers. “This is probably the first time that 10 pots have been found near the cists during excavations in the State,” the expert added. Further digging in the burial chambers and the opening of the pots are expected to reveal more details.

Previous excavations have revealed that multi-ethnic groups lived at the village, located about 500 metres away from the Noyyal river.

Mr. Ranjith told The Hindu that the findings unearthed so far include an animal skull, possibly of a wolf or a dog; precious stones like beryl, carnelian, quartz, jasper, beads, gold pieces and needles; copper smelting units; the mud walls of a workshop; potteries; and Tamil Brahmi script. “We also found pieces of grooved tiles at a trench. Further excavation will reveal more,” he said.

The team is accompanied by an archaeologist, an expert, six researchers, and 40 workers.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 12:04:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/excavation-at-kodumanal-reveals-megalithic-belief-in-afterlife/article31862510.ece

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