<< News >> University of Kerala Department confirms palaeolithic find

Submitted by coldrum on Wednesday, 14 February 2007  Page Views: 6518

Mesolithic, Palaeolithic and EarlierCountry: India The Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala, has confirmed that the palaeolithic site it found in December 2006 at Chandakkunnu, near Nilambur, belonged to the middle palaeolithic period.

This confirmation was made after Ajit Kumar, department head, made a second visit to the site in the last week of January. According to Dr. Ajit, the second visit yielded more artefacts, particularly tools in various stages of manufacture, which confirmed the department team's earlier assertion that what it discovered near Nilambur was a `primary factory site' of the middle palaeolithic period.

"We had in fact collected artefacts from the southern end of a vein of quartz formation that is now noticed to run further north into the forested tracts for nearly 100 to 200 meters. At some places this vein of quartz projects out of the soil, at some places partly and at some places lay buried. All along the fringes of this formation lay scattered artefacts in various state of manufacture, clearly reiterating our earlier view that it is a primary factory site. The late Acheulian character of some of the tools earlier found were also confirmed when more late-Acheulian flake-based hand axe element was discovered at the site. Apart from these, a few specimens of hand axe and cleaver elements identified with early Acheulian period were also found. However, the large number of flake-based scrapers and borers among the finds once again reiterate the palaeolithic site to be a late Acheulian-middle palaeolithic in affiliation," he told The Hindu .

In December 2006, a 10-member team of students from the Department had found the artefacts in the site that lies next to the Kerala Forest Research Institute and the Teak Museum campus.

The team found 34 tools of the middle palaeolithic age from around a quartz formation south of the river Karimpuzha a tributary of the river Chaliyar. The tools lay scattered in an area of about 50 sq metres and were thought to be as old as 1.5 lakh years Before Present (BP) or as recent as 23,000 year BP.

The team also discovered a palaeo-channel and megalithic stone formations near the site.

According to Dr. Ajit, the first discovery of such a site in the State was at Kanjirappuzha in Palakkad district in 1974.

The artefacts found at Chandakkunnu were made of coarse quartz and fall mainly in the typological classification of `scrappers'. They were made on flakes using middle palaeolithic techniques that archaeologists call the `Levallosian' technique or the `Tortoise Core' technique. The quantity and variety of the artefacts found at Chandakkunnu was much greater than those found in 1974 at Kanjirappuzha, Dr. Ajit added.

G. Mahadevan


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Neolithic axe head unearthed by coldrum on Sunday, 04 October 2009
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Neolithic axe head unearthed

A stone axe head dating back to the Neolithic age has been unearthed from Mampallikunnam, near Chathannur, in Kollam district. The axe was discovered by local people in a paddy field at the foot of a laterite hillock.

Studies conducted by P. Rajendran, an archaeologist and research scientist at the Department of History under the University of Kerala, revealed that it is a well-finished stone axe head of the Neolithic culture. The axe head, measuring six inches in length and three inches in breadth, has an oval cross-section and was made by flaking, pecking and grinding

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Pre-historic cemetery discovered in Kerala by coldrum on Wednesday, 24 June 2009
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Pre-historic cemetery discovered in Kerala

The first time in India that postholes have been found in the context of megalithic necropolis

Experts believe it is a promising site to study the Early Iron Age culture in Bharathapuza basin

Archaeologists have discovered a pre-historic necropolis (cemetery) with megalithic cairn circles dating back 2,500 years, many ‘postholes’ that probably point to the ancient practice of ‘excarnation,’ a ‘wood-henge’-like ritual monument and a site of primitive astronomical intelligence at Anakkara, near Kuttippuram in Malappuram district.

Excavations at the site, a laterite plateau atop one of several primary hills overlooking the Ponnani river at Valayangad in Anakkara grama panchayat, have revealed three chamber tombs containing burnished black and red ware, black bowls and some iron objects commonly seen among megalithic grave goods. Archaic features of the burial type and the conspicuous absence of non-local artefacts among the interred objects suggest that the find is around 2,500 years old. Valayangad literally means the burial place with cairn (stone) circles, derived from the ancient necropolis of cairns.

Megalithic quarry

It is an extensive lateritic table-rock along the hill-top now truncated by a tarred road with boulder-outcrops on either side and many urn burials, umbrella stones and cairn circles in and around the red soil undulation.

The central part of the site has a one metre thick soil-deposit used for agriculture in recent times, which suggests systematic removal of all possible archaeological traces. On the table-rock surface there are three huge cairn circles at the western end and many postholes in the north-eastern and south-eastern corners. The site, archaeologists say, was evidently a megalithic quarry too as testified by axe-marks and half-cut residues on the rock all along the western side of the cairns.

“Megalithic cairns are not new to South Indian archaeology. But the occurrence of multiple rock-cut chambers inside and discovery of postholes in close proximity are extremely significant. This is the first time in India that postholes have been discovered in the context of megalithic necropolis and these are, perhaps, pointers to pre-burial excarnation procedures as well as to relics of an archaic observatory and primitive astronomy,” says Rajan Gurukkal, historian and Vice-Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. Dr. Gurukkal is the director of the excavation project which is being undertaken by a team led by well-known archaeologists V. Selva Kumar (Tamil University) and K. P. Shajan Paul (London) under licence from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The same team had done excavations at Pattanam, north of Kochi, that revealed Indo-Roman links through Malabar from early historic times.
Trade contacts

According to Dr. Paul, Anakkara is a promising site to study the Early Iron Age culture in the Bharathapuza basin and its implications for the development of later trade routes and contacts through the Palakkad Gap. “We have discovered steatite beads in the third chamber, not reported anywhere in Kerala, probably from Karnataka, and carnelian beads probably from Gujarat (Lower Narmada area). We could also trace some broken pieces of an unidentified copper object. These artefacts could be indicative of the earliest trade contacts in the region.”

Located in the east of the table-rock is a slightly larger posthole flanked by a few smaller ones, indicating probably the entrance area. A road separates this part from the rest of the plateau stretching towards the west where at the north-eastern corner exists a neatly cut circular alignment of small postholes, with a channel-like incision around the northern half.

“It is suggestive of a round hut of axial orientation typical of Iron Age. Nevertheless, that possibility is precluded by the fact that t

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Prehistoric sites discovered at Kollengode by coldrum on Thursday, 18 June 2009
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Prehistoric sites discovered at Kollengode

The Geo-Heritage Archaeological Research Centre has discovered three Paleolithic, 27 Microlithic and 26 Megalithic sites, ranging from the prehistoric to historic periods, in a micro-region in the Thenmala valley in Kollengode near here.

A large number of architectural remains such as postholes and sockets and rock engravings have been discovered from the area. Postholes of rectangular, circular and squarish shapes are considered as Neolithic residences. The style of the rock engravings dates back to the Paleolithic age, according to the research centre.

V. Sanal Kumar, director of the Kollengode-based research centre, says the most striking aspect of the present study is the discovery of the culturally significant prehistoric and historic sites. He claims that “this is the first time in Kerala that cultural evidences from the prehistoric to the historic periods are discovered from a micro-region.”

He says that historians like M.K. Raghava Warrier and Selvakumar, Archaeology Department, Tamil University, Thanjavur, have visited the sites and helped him analyse the findings.

The chronological sequence of cultural and archaeological evidence from the Paleolithic to later historic periods has been found at Kollengode, Muthalamada, Elavancherry and Pallasena. All these areas enjoy a uniform geographical background and lie in the same region between the Ikshumadi and Gayathri streams and can be termed as a single geographical unit.

Mr. Sanal Kumar, in his research paper, claims to have located the ancient Chera capital Porainadu (Vanji) in the area.

The geographical elements of ‘Porai’ (granite rock) and the physical and cultural evidences from the study area have been taken into consideration to locate the ancient Porainadu. All supporting geographical names mentioned in Sangam and post-Sangam works such as Periyar, Muchiriyar, Porunai, Kottambalam, Kudalur, Venkundram, Imayam, Erakam, Vencatam, Kollimala, Parambumala, etc., have been identified in the study area.

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Archaeologists dig out ancient port by coldrum on Sunday, 03 June 2007
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Archaeologists dig out ancient port

Archaeologists in Kerala have discovered a 2000-year-old port settlement probably dating back to the first BC to third AD, in Pattanam about 50 km from the modern day port city of Kochi.

The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) in its findings suggests that this could be the lost town of Muzires mentioned in early Roman manuscripts when ancient Rome had trade links with South India.

''Periplus mentions that the Roman ship came only up to the coast and they could not directly come up to Muzires. Then smaller boats brought goods from the ships to the site,'' said K Selvakumar, archaeologist.

''This is a Roman amphora piece, the bottom bit amphora was the jar that was meant for transporting wine, olive oil, fish sauce etc. We have found 160 pieces of amphora here,'' said P J Cherian, Director, KCHR.

Research on the site spreading across nearly 24 hectares has just begun and it might take another 10-15 years for the full extent of the settlement to be revealed. But there's evidence that the port settlement was highly developed.

''At the higher level, you find a township, a kind of urban culture evolving brick structures and a pottery that is not local,'' Cherian added.

A two thousand year old sea port, its culture and its people all shrouded in a mystery waiting to be unveiled by the slow and painstaking efforts of the archaeologists.

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