Excavations at Kodumanal village

Context

  • The excavations at Kodumanal village have thrown light on burial rituals and the concept of afterlife in megalithic culture.

About Kodumanal

  • It is a village located in the Erode district in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is located on the northern banks of Noyyal River, a tributary of the Cauvery.
  • It was once a flourishing ancient trade city known as Kodumanam as inscribed in Pathitrupathu of Sangam Literature.

About Sangam Literature

  • The period roughly between the 3rd century B.C.and 3rd century A.D. in South India (the area lying to the south of river Krishna and Tungabhadra) is known as Sangam Period.
  • It has been named after the Sangam academies held during that period that flourished under the royal patronage of the Pandya kings of Madurai.

According to the Tamil legends, there were three Sangams (Academy of Tamil poets) held.

1.The First Sangam, is believed to be held at Madurai

2.The Second Sangam was held at Kapadapuram, only Tolkappiyam (considered the earliest of Tamil literary work) survives from this.

3.The Third Sangam was also held at Madurai

About Megalithic Culture

  • A large prehistoric stone culture that lasted from the Neolithic Stone Age to the early Historical Period (2500 BC to AD 200) across the world. 
  • In India, archaeologists trace the majority of the megaliths to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC) though some sites precede the Iron Age extending up to 2000 BC.
  • Spread across the peninsular India concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • They were constructed as burial sites or as commemorative memorials.
  • These are actual burial remains such as dolmenoid cists (box-shaped stone burial chambers), cairn circles (stone circles with defined peripheries) and capstones (distinctive mushroom-shaped burial chambers found mainly in Kerala).