Mar 14, 2012 at 08:54am IST

Kanchi district, gold mine of megalithic sites

The excavation of a tomb in Vadamangalam village in Kancheepuram district has demonstrated yet again that the entire district is a treasure trove of megalithic burial sites, which reflect the culture of an era buried in the annals of time.
About 3,000 years ago, when man discovered iron and its use as a tool and a weapon, the metal revolutionised life and society. That period is better known as Iron Age.
In Tamil Nadu, Iron Age also marked a practice of burying the dead and placing boulders in the form of a circle or constructing dolmens with slabs on the surface. They were meant to be memorials for the beloved relatives who passed away. Such places are called megalithic sites.
Kancheepuram district has the maximum number of megalithic sites in Tamil Nadu, followed by Pudukottai. In Kanchi district alone, there are about 150 megalithic burial sites out of which 103 are identified, notified and protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
However, no habitation sites have be properly identified or found in Kanchi district till date. Kundrathur is believed to be a habitation site where people flourished 2,500-3,000 years ago, but a proper identification has not yet been done.
Among the areas identified as megalithic sites in Kanchi district are Tiruporur, Siruthavur, Thanur and Amirthamangalam near Maduranthakam, Pallavaram, Vadamangalam, Venbakkam and Sembakkam.
Though other districts too have megalithic sites, they are not as rich as Kancheepuram. Pudukottai district has about 70 such sites, including the famed Adichanallur in Tuticorin district where excavations started in the 19th century. Kodumanal near Erode is among the other notable megalithic burial places in Tamil Nadu.