Menhir and Megalithic burial sites

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Overview:

Recently, the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology has declared five ‘menhir’ (single stone) and megalithic burial sites at Kodumanal in Erode district as protected monuments.

About Menhir and megalithic burial sites:

  • Kodumanal is located on the northern banks of the Noyyal River and made it to the archaeology map in 1961 when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) started the first dig after noticing antique materials scattered across the barren land of the village.

Findings on this site

  • Potsherds containing names inscribed in Tamil-Brahmi script were found in a large number, apart from Roman silver coins, precious stones and quartz. 
  • Semi-precious stone beads, bangles, copper, silver, iron, and terracotta are among the items unearthed during the excavations. 

What are Megaliths?

  • These were constructed either as burial sites or commemorative((non-sepulchral)  memorials
  • The former are sites with actual burial remains, such as dolmenoid cists (box-shaped stone burial chambers), cairn circles (stone circles with defined peripheries) and capstones (distinctive mushroom-shaped burial chambers found mainly in Kerala). 
  • Non-sepulchral megaliths include memorial sites such as menhirs.
  • In India, archaeologists trace the majority of the megaliths to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC).
  • In India, these are concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

 


Q1) What is Iron Age?

The Iron Age is a period in human history characterized by the widespread use of iron tools and weapons. It is considered to be the final stage of the three-age system, which divides prehistoric and early historic periods into the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

Source: Menhir and megalithic burial sites declared as protected monuments at Kodumanal