Call to protect ancient burial sites in the Nilgiris


Share post:

Observing that the Nilgiris has always provided abundant material for pre-historic research and kept alive interest in the megalithic era in South India, a senior researcher called for the protection of ancient burial sites existing in the district.

Call to protect ancient burial sites in the Nilgiris
A miniature buffalo artefact collected at an ancient burial site near Ooty [Credit: New Indian Express]

M. Ravichandran, a senior artist with the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Ooty, explained that four burial sites had been discovered in the Nilgiris since the 19th Century at Stone Circle, Cairn Circle, Dolmen and Draw Well Cairn. He had recently collected fragments of a miniature buffalo-head made of unique stones from an ancient burial site of the Toda tribal community at School Mund on the outskirts of the hill station.

He said, “During my visit to the ancient burial site of Draw Well Cairn near School Mund, I came across a number of terracotta figurine relics. These could be termed ‘grave goods’. The figures include an elephant trunk, buffalo heads, horns, punch-marked animal bodies and some pot shreds. J W Breeks was the first British archaeologist to excavate artifacts from megalithic burial sites of the Nilgiris in 1873, which have been kept at museums in London, Berlin and Madras. Actually, the pre-historic monuments have been vandalised by natural calamities and human interruption. Hence, protection of ancient burial sites will be much useful for those interested in research and those visiting the Nilgiris.”

According to him, the custom of erecting tombs to pay homage to departed ancestors prevailed among the megalithic people in different times in most parts of the world, starting from the Neolithic era.

Different theories existed among scholars regarding the origin and diffusion of the megalithic people. Indian megalithic culture dated back to 1,000 BC and the heritage of the Nilgiris could be traced from the pre-historic period, that is 2,000 years ago.

Author: R. Haldorai | Source: The New Indian Express [February 04, 2013]



Related articles

In search of Herod’s tomb

Historian Josephus writes that King Herod the Great, who was appointed by the Romans to rule Judea between...

Ice Age discovery may reveal early migration route of first Americans

A group of researchers have discovered the retreat of an ancient ice sheet from the western coast of...

Study suggests more damage caused to Parthenon Sculptures by Victorian vandals and British Museum than Athens’ air pollution

A new analysis of Lord Elgin’s original casts of the Parthenon marbles, recently published in Antiquity, has revealed details...

Aboriginal hunting practice increases animal populations

In Australia's Western Desert, Aboriginal hunters use a unique method that actually increases populations of the animals they...

Why did hunter gatherers first begin farming?

Researchers from the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield have shed light on how...

Archaeological team excavates at one of the major fortress-settlements in the Armenian Highlands

A team of researchers and students from HKU unearthed huge storage jars, animal bones and fortress walls from...

Wet-sieving uncovers additional human relics

A WA archaeology consultancy has conducted a cost-benefit analysis of improved treatments for sediment samples taken from ancient...

A legal victory raises ethical questions for US museum

Should American institutions hold onto dubiously acquired artifacts, even when their countries of origin ask for them back?...