Hundreds of Iron Age megalithic burial sites of different types have been discovered by the ASI at Sengalur village in neighbouring Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu.
More than 500 megalithic structures believed to be dating back to about 500–300 BC have been found during excavations carried out in an area of about 25 hectares at the village, about 35 km from Tiruchirappalli, a senior ASI official said.
"The findings are rare and the megalithic sites are one of the earliest architectural attempts of the people in South India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular," ASI Superintending Archaeologist, Temple Suvey Project Southern Region, D Dayalan told reporters at the village on Wednesday.
The findings include stone circles of laterite or granite boulders and made with cairn packing, cist burial of different types, pit burial and urn burial with or without capstones.
A special feature was the rectangular shaped structure of Iron Age sepulchral monument. It was unique and not found anywhere in South India except a solitary finding at Sittannavasal in the same district, he said.
The excavations also yielded habitational objects like potteries of different shapes and sizes including bi-coloured (red and black) pots besides iron objects at Melappatti, nearly 2.5 kms south-west of the burial site, he said.
Copper items like bowls, lid, ring stand, decorative pieces etc. had also been unearthed by a team of ASI experts, he said, adding the copper objects were common in Northern India but rare in the South.
The construction of stone circles and the rectangular structure, which is perhaps a designated burial site of the people by virtue of their status in the society revealed the architectural expertise possessed by our ancestors.
The boulders are large in size with a measurement of four feet long, three feet high and 1.5 feet in breadth and weighed minimum 500 kgs. Certain pieces touched the one tonne mark.