EDEN IAS

HISTORY OPTIONAL MEGALITHIC CULTURES I HISTORY CONCEPT SERIES I ARTICLE – II

<p align=”center” style=”text-align:center; margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b><u><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-size:18.0pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>HISTORY OPTIONAL MEGALITHIC CULTURES</span></span></span></u></b></span></span></span></p>

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<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>A megalith is a stone which is larger in size and has been used to construct a monument or a structure. The monument or the structure has been constructed either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic has been used to describe buildings built by people living in many different periods from many parts of the world. The construction of this type of structures took place mainly in the Neolithic and continued into the Chalcolithic Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.</span></span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>Apart from the ethnic affinities and possible migration, the chronology of megaliths in India still poses certain problems. Wheeler (1948) assigned a date for the megalithic culture approximately to the 2nd Century B.C. Gordon and Haimendorf (as quoted by Srinivasan and Benerjee 1953:114)propsed dates between c. 700 to 400 B.C. Seshadri (1956) dated them between 6th century B.C. to 1st century A.D. Sundara (1969-70) proposed a date at c. 1100 B.C. for Terdal in Karnataka. Sundara and Aiyappan (1945) extended antiquity of the megaliths as far back as the Indian Neolithic times. The Chalcolithic-megalithic contact period in Maharashtra goes back to c. 700 B.C. Megaliths of Vidarbha is dated to the 6th or 7th centuries B.C.</span></span></span></span></p>

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<p><span><img alt=”” src=”https://i.filecdn.in/476edenias/6-1603698598714.jpg” /></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b><u><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>Megalithic Sites:</span></u></b></span></span></span></p>

<ul>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>As with the descriptive accounts, the first excavation of Megalithic monuments also took place more than a century ago. In the last quarter of the 19th century, <b><u>Dr. Jagor</u></b> first excavated in the classic site of <b><u>Adicanallur</u></b> in the <b><u>Tirunevelly</u></b> district, Tamil Nadu. </span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>The extensive site of <b><u>Junapani</u></b>, near Nagpur in Maharastra was also excavated on a small scale by <b><u>Rivett-Carnac (1879)</u></b>. </span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>In the later years of the 19th century, <b><u>Alexander Rea (1902-03)</u></b> excavated a number of megalithic sites in South India. </span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>The classic site of <b><u>Adichanallur</u></b> was also reexcavated in 1903-04 by Louis Lapicque. </span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>By the end of the first quarter of the 20th century, a number of Megalithic sites had been excavated. However, the first attempt to place the South Indian Megaliths in a chronological framework was by <b><u>Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1948)</u></b>, who excavated the sites of <b><u>Brahmagiri</u></b> and <b><u>Chandravalli</u></b> in Karnataka in 1944.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>An extension of the South Indian Megaliths to <b><u>Vidarbha</u></b> has come to light by the excavation at Junapani and subsequent full-fledged excavtions at <b><u>Khapa</u></b> and <b><u>Muhurjhari</u></b>. The excavations at Khapa and Mahurjhari and another site at <b><u>Naikund</u></b> have supported that the megaliths belonged to a particular section of the community or people in each region.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>At <b><u>Khapa</u></b>, situated on the left bank of the river <b><u>Krishna</u></b> there are a number of megaliths in the form of stone circles, whereas on the opposite side at <b><u>Takelghat</u></b> there is a habitation site. This, at present on the evidence of C-14 date from Takalghat, is placed around 556 B.C. Takalghat megalithic culture is believed to be similar to that of Hallur in Karnataka.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>Compared to <b><u>Khapa</u></b>, <b><u>Mahurjhari</u></b> from Nagpur is considered as a megalithic haven. With Junapani, it is said to have more than 300 stone circles.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>Altogether three localities have been identified at <b><u>Mahurjhari</u></b>.<br />
These are-<br />
In <b><u>Locality-I</u></b>, megaliths yielded iron axes, daggers, copper bowls, bells, bangles, numerous beads of semi-precious stones, black-and-red pottery and gold leaves.<br />
In <b><u>Locality-II</u></b>, the megaliths yielded several copper bangles, iron axes, chisels, gold spiral, iron nails etc. This locality seems to be more important because a human skeleton found associated with large number of objects and painted blackand-red potsherds, which were placed near the various parts of the interred body<br />
In <b><u>Locality-III</u></b>, megaliths yielded full length human skeletons with iron and copper objects, including those for the horse. Gold ornaments and painted pottery belonged to a family or persons who were rich and important- probably warriors of a high status.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>A new dimension to the megalithic problem in India was revealed with the discovery of megaliths in the districts of <b><u>Banda, Allahabad, Mizapur and Varanasi</u></b> located in south-eastern Uttar Pradesh. The monuments called as <b><u>cairns</u></b> (A&nbsp;cairn:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones.) and <b><u>cists</u></b> (A&nbsp;cist:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;is a small stone-built, coffin-like box used to hold the&nbsp;bodies of the dead.) are comparatively sparsely distributed near the junction of the northeast slope of the Vindhyas, and in the Ganga plains. It has been found at all excavated sites at Varanasi, Allahabad, Mirzapur and Banda, that their makers dug fairly deep pits, deposited the funerary goods and covered them with hemispherical cairns of boulders bounded by stone circle.<br />
In case of a cist, a similar pit was dug and a box-like chamber was prepared with orthostats. The box was packed with small stones, and covered with massive single stone slab resting directly on the four uprights.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>Interestingly, unlike in the south, the Allahabad megaliths reflect the cultural change. The basic types- cairns, stone circles and cists-remain the same, but the grave goods consist, instead of microliths, iron objects like sickle, adze, arrowhead and dagger.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>On the opposite bank of the <b><u>River Belan</u></b> at <b><u>Koldihwa</u></b> and <b><u>Khajuri</u></b> megaliths belonging to chalcolithic cultures were found, lying between cultures of Varanasi and Kotla of Allahabad.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>Megaliths have also been discovered at <b><u>Waztal</u></b>, about 12 kms from the <b><u>Matau Spring</u></b>, and <b><u>Brah</u></b>, about 9 kms from <b><u>Martand</u></b> in Kashmir. At both the sites a number of huge standing stones were found. But these are scattered around without any regular plan.</span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-bottom:13px; margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>It is interesting to note that in spite of the local variations, the inhabitants used, right from the beginning up to the end, a Black-and Red Ware. For nearly 1500 years the technique of making of pottery, its decoration and firing did not change and the way of life of the people remained the same.</span></span></span></span></li>
</ul>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b><u><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>Burial Rituals and Social Organization :</span></u></b></span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>The above description of the megalithic culture shows that the megalithic communities were dominated by religious and supernatural beliefs. This is evident from the elaborate objects associated with the burials. Different burial tradition could indicate different social and ethnic groups, but so far no fixed regional conventions regarding orientation of the bodies or the graves have been observed. In the Vidarbha region horses were buried with the dead, possibly after sacrifice, and this may have been a local ethnic tradition.<br clear=”all” />
However, the tradition of erecting megaliths is still found among the tribals living in Northeastern, Eastern, Central and South India. The reasons behind the erection of megaliths are not very clear.</span></span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span lang=”EN-US” style=”font-family:&quot;Cambria&quot;,serif”>In this situation, we can derive some clues on the megaliths&rsquo; associations by observing the practices of the tribes who still include megaliths in their religious beliefs, for example, the Gadabas, Gonds, Kurumbas, Marias, Mundas, Savaras, Garos, Khasis, Nagas, Karbis, Tiwas, and Marams. These groups still construct megalithic manuments for the dead. &lsquo;Megalithism&rsquo; may be considered as a living tradition.</span></span></span></span></p>

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