Throwback to Palamuru’s hoary past

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Palamuru region
Megalithic burial sites belonging to Neolithic era are located inside the river route in Chinnamaruru and Peddamaruru villages.

Wanaparthy: It is a well-known fact that Palamuru region has been a witness to primitive civilisations which thrived on the banks of Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers. Traces of such early human settlements can still be found in many places on the banks of Krishna and one such settlement was found near Chinnamaruru and Peddamaruru villages in Chinnambavi mandal.

There are megalithic burial sites belonging to Neolithic era located right inside the river route in these two villages. Locals have been calling these ‘Chandamama Guhalu’, which are in archaeological terminology called ‘dolmens’, which are a form of megalithic burials.

According to Dr A Bhanu Murthy, who, along with his team of archaeologists, had carried out excavations in these two sites for two years between 1976 and 1978 in the Dolla Bilkur site in Peddamaruru, they had found Krushi forms, in other words stones placed on the cist in the form of a ‘swastik’.

“It was surprising to see that there were multiple chambers in a single cist, which denotes each chamber built for a member of a family. There were holes made in the shape of a half-moon on the stones separating each chamber (fort holes), which indicates that even after their death, people of that time wanted to communicate with each other as if they were still one happy family. It was something unique in the burials which we had found back then,” Dr Bhanu Murthy told Telangana Today.

On one of the cists, archaeologists had also found a female anthropomorphic figure which implied it was a tomb of a female. The figure also depicted the private parts of the woman and was still found intact. This was something not found anywhere else in Asia, according to Murthy. There were also capstones found with male and female figures.

“We found one female skeleton with ragi (copper) bangles, toe rings (mettelu in Telugu) and earrings made of bones. Under the stone bed of one of the cists, we had found plates, bowls and other black and red polished pottery. We were surprised to see sarcophagus enclosure (like a stone coffin) in which a body would be put and buried,” he added.

Agriculture had thrived during this era, which could be seen in the way iron agricultural instruments were found in the cists.

Though the exact period, in which the settlements lived, is still disputed because of the disagreement between archaeologists worldwide, archaeologists believe these burials could have existed between 1000 BC and 200 AD. This disagreement is because humans of early history in various parts of the world may have shown the characteristics of Neolithic era in different time periods ranging from 10,000 BC to 200 AD.

While some civilisations could have evolved sooner, it could have taken time for such an evolution much later in some other part of the world. It is still disputed whether these civilisations came from Egypt to Asia or went from Asia to Egypt through Central Asia. Unless there is a thorough study by the young generation of archaeology enthusiasts, many facts would remain a mystery, feel veteran archaeologists.

Coming to the Chinnamaruru and Peddamaruru megalithic burials, one interesting thing is that these sites, which could have been on the banks of river Krishna some thousands of years ago when they were dug, are now falling within the river route.

This means that whenever the river keeps following at its maximum level, the burials are submerged (in August normally). They again surface back in April or so when they are visible for archaeology enthusiasts to see.