Santhanparai: Throwing more light on prehistoric times, stone memorials likely from the Megalithic Age were discovered near Santhanparai in Kerala's Idukki district. Many tall upright stones (menhirs) were found on a 10-acre area on a hill slope. An array of pre-historic stones of varying sizes were also found in the nearby hills.
The menhirs are nearly 20 feet tall and seven feet wide with a thickness of five feet.
The invaluable finds were discovered by Rajeev Puliyoor, a History researcher and principal in-charge of Nedumkandam B.Ed College.
Rajeev said that the menhirs and stone memorials discovered in Idukki is the largest found in the state. "The size, shape and arrangement may be a reflection of the human society that lived here about 3,000 years ago," he said.
Most of the megaliths in India belong to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC), though some predate the Iron Age, probably up to 2000 BC. This place, from where these stones were found, in Idukki district is not mentioned on the list of archaeological locations in the district. Big stones were placed side-by-side to make a flat floor and many stones were arranged vertically on this floor. The base stones had square artworks on them.
After the floods last year, ancient terracotta artefacts were found on the banks of Pamba River near Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district. Later, the archaeological department undertook excavation activities in the area in January. A couple of months ago too, megalithic cists were discovered in a place called Poonthangara, a few kilometres from Aranmula.
Almost a decade ago, another burial cist was discovered near Konni, which is also less than 20 km from Aranmula.
Rajeev opined that more study should be conducted on the latest findings from Idukki.
According to Dr P Rajendran, an expert in Archaeology, "The memorial stones such as umbrella stones, dolmens, cists and urns found in Kerala are signs of memorials for the death. Memorial stones measuring from three feet to 20 feet were found at different places in Kerala. Red stones were found in plains and granites in hilly regions."
"The size and the arrangement of the stones indicate the importance of the dead person. But there are no indications that a dead person was buried at the place where the stones were found. Only bones and other remains were buried. These memorials showcase the people who lived in prehistoric times and worked hard with cohesiveness."