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‘Megalithic relics in neglected state'

G. Prabhakaran



Significant discovery: An undisturbed port-holed cist at Muppuzha in Palakkad district.

PALAKKAD: Relics from the Megalithic culture found in Muppuzha in Kuthanur panchayat and Malampuzha in Palakkad remain in a state of neglect, said V.P. Devadas, Principal Investigator of the University Grants Commission's (UGC) major research project on Megaliths of Kerala. Archaeological studies in Kerala are centred on the Megalithic culture.

In South India, several hundred Megalithic relics have been found by archaeologists and the government. The relics excavated in Kerala include Kodakkals (umbrella stones); rock cut caves, urn burials, hat stones (‘toppikkal'), slabciss, menhirs, multiple-hood stones.

A significant finding typical of megalithic burials is port-hole cists. A port-hole cist is a box-like structure constructed out of four or five dressed granite orthostats kept on a floor slab and enclosed by a cap stone. Port-hole cists are mainly confined to the granite highland regions of Kerala.

Its parallels have been found in France, Britain, the Mediterranean region, Caucasus region, Russia and Baluchistan.

In the neighbourhood of Kerala, port-holed cists have been found at Chitradurga, Brahmagiri, Coorg in Karnataka; Madurai, Cuddalore and Arikkamedu in Tamil Nadu.

Dr. Devadas said in Kerala, port-hole cists were found in Ayiram Kolli, Kuppa Kolli, Krishnagiri in Wayanad district; Ranni, Konni and Malayalapuzha in Pathanamthitta; Marayur, Kantalur, Chinnakanal in Idukki district; and Malampuzha and Muppuzha in Palakkad district. From available archaeological evidence, it may be inferred that the port-hole cists of Kerala date back to the period between seventh and third century BC, he said.

Muppuzha in Kuthannur panchayat of Palakkad has about 100 such cist burials in an area of 10 acres of reserve forests.

The present port-hole site under study is at Muppuzha, 30 km from Palakkad, in Alathur taluk, he said.

The architectural features of port-hole cist of Muppuzha show strong similarities with dolmens from different parts of Europe, Iberian Peninsula, France, Caucasus mountains, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Israel, he said.

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