Prehistoric relics point to riverine settlement at Attappady 

The discovery of pottery, tools and burial grounds along the river banks in the tribal districts has excited scholars

The discovery of pottery, tools and burial grounds along the river banks in the tribal districts has excited scholars

The discovery of several prehistoric artifacts and archaeological remains along the banks of three rivers flowing through the Attappady Hills across Kerala and Tamil Nadu, suggesting the presence of a mature settlement, has surprised researchers and locals alike.

The discovery of various stone tools, inhabited caves, menhirs, cists or burial chambers, stone circles, burial urns, black and red pottery, terracotta depictions, stone carvings and granite inscriptions point to prehistoric human settlements in the predominantly tribal area of ​​Attappady.

The archaeological finds have recently been made in several places along the banks of the rivers Bhavani, Siruvani and Kodumkara Pallam or Anakkatti. The remains came to light during an extensive postdoctoral research by economist AD Manikandan among the Attappady tribal communities.

Over the years, however, many of the prehistoric artifacts have been destroyed and damaged by the locals, who were unaware of the region’s ancient past. Although there were dozens of granite menhirs, some up to 6 meters high, only a few remain intact. It is significant that one of the tribal settlements in Kottathara is called Nattakkallu Ooru (meaning a hamlet of menhirs), where all but one of the 11-foot menhirs have been destroyed.

“No one bothered to go back in Attappady’s history. What amazes me is that this tribal land known only for its poverty, suffering, exploitation and land grabs has had an amazing civilization to boast of. Interestingly, countless relics have been found on both sides of the rivers flowing through Attappady,” said Dr. Manikandan, whose two-volume book on Attappady’s prehistoric life and culture is due to be published soon.

This reporter found cist cemeteries and shards of black and red pottery widely scattered on both sides of Kodumkara Pallam. The river marks the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu with Attappady on the western bank.

Black and red polished pottery with various patterns was also discovered in recent weeks on a private land near Anakkatti in Sholayur grama panchayat. “We were surprised by the findings. We want the Department of Archeology to study it,” Sholayur told panchayat president P. Ramamoorthy The Hindu

Researcher AD Manikandan examines one of the last remaining menhirs at Nattakkallu Ooru in Attappady.

Researcher AD Manikandan examines one of the last remaining menhirs at Nattakkallu Ooru in Attappady. † Photo credit: LATHEEF NAHA

A team of researchers led by PV Mohammed Kutty has approached the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Mumbai, and the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow, for radiocarbon dating of the relics. “Without scientific research, we cannot just blindly arrive at an assumption. We can now only say with certainty that Attappady is a treasure trove of culture and civilization,” said Dr. Mohammed Kutty.

SOURCE – www.thehindu.com

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