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Indian History

Kodumanal Excavation

  • 19 Jun 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai has identified 250 cairn-circles from the Kodumanal excavation site in Erode district of Tamilnadu.

  • Cairn-circles are the prehistoric stone row which is a linear arrangement of parallel megalithic standing stones.
  • A megalith is a large prehistoric stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones.

Key Points

  • This is for the first time that 10 pots and bowls were discovered from the site, instead of the usual three or four pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn-circle.
    • More numbers and bigger size of boulders suggests that the grave could be of a village head or the head of the community.
    • It also suggests burial rituals and the concept of afterlife in megalithic culture. Believing that the deceased person will get a new life after death, pots and bowls filled with grains were placed outside the chambers.
  • The rectangular chambered cists (a small stone-built coffin-like box) are made of stone slabs, and the entire grave is surrounded by boulders that form a circle.
  • Findings from the site also include an animal skull, beads, copper smelting units, the mud walls of a workshop, potteries, and Tamil Brahmi script.
  • Previous Excavations:
    • The earlier excavations of Kodumanal revealed that multi-ethnic groups lived in the village.
    • It also revealed that the site served as a trade-cum-industrial centre from 5th century Before Common Era (BCE) to 1st century BCE.

Megaliths Culture

  • Megaliths refer to large stone structures that were constructed either as burial sites or as commemorative sites.
  • The burial sites are the 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).
  • The megalithic culture lasted from the Neolithic Stone Age to the early Historical Period (2500 BCE to CE 200) across the world.
  • In India, the majority of the megaliths are of the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC),
  • Megaliths are spread across peninsular India, concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • The chambers containing the mortal remains were usually made of terracotta.


  • It is a village located in the Erode district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
  • The place is an important archaeological site.
  • It is located on the northern banks of Noyyal River, a tributary of the Cauvery.

Source: TH

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