Excavation at Kodumanal reveals megalithic belief in afterlife

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News: The excavations at Kodumanal village have thrown light on burial rituals and the concept of afterlife in megalithic culture.

Facts:

  • Kodumanal: It is a village located in the Erode district in Tamil Nadu.It is located on the northern banks of Noyyal River, a tributary of the Cauvery.
  • Significance: It was once a flourishing ancient trade city known as Kodumanam as inscribed in Pathitrupathu of Sangam Literature.

Additional Facts:

  • Megalithic Culture: It is a large prehistoric stone culture that lasted from the Neolithic Stone Age to the early Historical Period (2500 BC to AD 200) across the world. 
    • In India, archaeologists trace the majority of the megaliths to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC) though some sites precede the Iron Age extending up to 2000 BC.
  • India: Megaliths are spread across the peninsular India concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • Purpose: They were constructed as burial sites or as commemorative (non-sepulchral) memorials. 
  • Burial Sites: These are 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: These include memorial sites such as menhirs. 
    • Menhir is the name used in Western Europe for a single upright stone erected in prehistoric times sometimes called a standing stone.