Iron Age burial site found near Tiruvannamalai

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CHENNAI: An Iron Age megalithic burial site, dotted with cairn-circles, has been discovered near Veeranam village, at the foot of a chain of hills, in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvannamalai district.

This sprawling site, spread over about three km in Tandaramapattu taluk, can be dated to 1,000 BCE-300 CE. What is interesting about the discovery is that many of the cairn-circles have dolmenoid cists on the surface within the circles. Cairn-circles are rough stones arranged in a circle, and dolmenoid cists are box-like structures made of granite slabs. The cairn-circles indicate burial chambers below, with urns containing bones and pottery with paddy, beads, knives, swords and other artefacts.

Poems in the Tamil Sangam literature (300 BCE to 300 CE) celebrate these megalithic burials, which can unlock the secrets of the social life of that age. But residents of nearby villages have already destroyed a large number of these cairn-circles near Veeranam and carted away the stones and granite-slabs for building cowsheds and compound walls, and for laying floors. A quarry is working nearby, in the hills....

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