A vast site of funeral urns in Mandapam village, near the Aarpakkam intersection, about 14 kilometers from Kancheepuram, dating from the pre-Megalithic period or theIron age in Tamil Nadu.
The importance of the place, archaeologists say, is that it belongs to a period prior to the Megalithic Era or Iron Age in Tamil Nadu. They estimate that the site dates from between 1,800 BC to 1,500 BC, that is, about 3,800 or 3,500 years ago.
- Archaeologists with the remains of the urns
The place, however, has been devastated by the exploitation of the blue metal quarries. The earth removers have cut large urns and collided with pieces of ceramics used for rituals, bowls and clay plates inside the urns.
The pits they have reduced the place to small lakes with protruding blue metal deposits and broken urns that are visible in places. A full stone crusher dusty air.
Villager P. Mani, the discoverer of the site, reported this to V. Arasu, Head of the Department of Tamil, University of Madras, and S. Elango, professor at the University of Madras in Tamil. Dr. Elango, who has visited the site on several occasions, says that the urns of flat and conical bottom they were buried only a foot or two below the surface. While some of them have clay dishes and ritual pottery inside, others are empty. There were disintegrated human bones in many of them. Even more importart, there were no circular stone marks on the surface to mark them. There are also no graffiti marks on the urns.
The place could be so old such as the adichanallur site, another urns burial site in Tamil Nadu, suggests the Elango.
Circles of cairs are large stones, that is, large stones placed circled on the ground surface and the urns are kept below. The urns are inside cists, which are compartments made by granite slabs. Because burial sites are marked by large stones, they are called Megalithic Age burials.
The Iron Age and the Megalithic Age are contemporaneous in South India. Archaeologists say that the Iron Age in southern India spanned between 1,000 BC. and 300 BC
T. Satyamurthy, former archeological superintendent of Archaeological Research India, visited the Mandapam site on Wednesday. He called it "an interesting site”. Is about "one more example where we can authoritatively say that there was a pre-Megalithic phase in Tamil Nadu”. He dates the site from between 1,800 BC to 1,500 BC.
While the funeral urns with circles are easily located, the discovery of them without megaliths on the surface it's more accidental. These sites, without the circles, are common in Tamil Nadu. Among them is the site of adichanallur. It was a misnomer to call megalithic sites because there are no large stones to mark itsays Dr. Satyamurthy. So there was a phase where iron was used and it was older than the Megalithic Age, which could have been called premegalithic or Iron Age in Tamil Nadu.
Need: systematic excavation.
A. Padmavathy, retired chief epigrapher at the Tamil Nadu Department of Archeology, says that the age limit of the Mandapam deposit could be 3,500 years judging by the coarse texture of the handcrafted urns with a flat, tapered bottom.
The interior of the ritual vessels was made by a wheel slowly. "Mandapam is an ancient place, comparable in antiquity to adichanallur and we should do a systematic excavation in Mandapam”Says Padmavathy.
When the adichanallur site was re-excavated by Satyamurthy in 2007 and 2005, he found 185 burial urns, including 90 intact and 36 with full human skeletons inside. Among the discovered objects were red ceramic, black pottery, copper bracelets and rings, iron spearheads, daggers and swords.
“If the railway line between Tirunelveli and Tiruchendur had not been established by the British by cutting the mounds of adichanallur, it would not have been discovered", He says.
Like it happens in adichanallur.
The Mandapam site was analogous to adichanallur in many things, says Satyamurthy.
In both cases, the funeral urns they were not associated with stone monuments; the polls were a few feet below the surface, above a natural rocky area; in both cases, the lines were absent; the ballot boxes were covered by lids; urns and pottery had no graffiti marks; and while Mandapam is located between the Palar and Cheyvar rivers, adichanallur It is located on the banks of the Tamiraparani. The ceramics found in the place of adichanallur were painted.
Image: The Hindu
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