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A large number of megalithic hat stones were found from a single site-Nagaparamba, Thoppikkallu .........

Why in News? 

  • A large number of megalithic hat stones were found from a single site-Nagaparamba, in Kuttippuram village, near Thirunavaya, on the banks of the Bharathapuzha river in Kerala.

Key findings:

  • Hat stones, popularly called Thoppikkallu in Malayalam, are hemispherical laterite stones used as lid on burial urns during the megalithic period are fond here.
  • The findings may throw light on the life and culture of people who lived in those parts more than 2,000 years ago.

About the megalith 

  • The word “megalith” is derived from the Latin words mega (big) and Lith (stone).  
  • Megaliths were built either as tombs or monuments. 
  • These are sites with actual burial remains such as dolmenoid cists (box-shaped), stone circles (stone circles) and capstones (mushroom-shaped burials found mostly in Kerala). 
  • The urn containing the  remains was usually made of terracotta. Memorial megaliths include monuments such as menhirs. 
  • This megalithic culture spanned the entire world from the Neolithic  to the Early Historic Period (2500 BC to 200 AD). 
  • In India, archaeologists trace most of the megaliths to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC), although some sites date back to the Iron Age, as early as 2000 BC. 
  • Megaliths are scattered throughout the Indian subcontinent, although most are found in the Indian subcontinent (approximately 2,200 megalithic sites), concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly  Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.  
  • Even today, a vibrant megalithic culture survives among some tribes such as the Gonds of Central India and the Khasis of Meghalaya.  
  • The  idea of ​​burying the dead in tombs suggests a strong belief in the afterlife and perhaps rebirth among megalithic people. 
  • The megaliths of the Indian subcontinent are associated with a typical wheeled pottery known as Black and Red Ware, which is found at various sites.  
  • In fact, there are several references to megalithic culture  in the ancient Tamil Sangam literature. 
  • For example, menhirs are called nadukal, a memorial stone in honor of a fallen hero.  
  • Manimekalai (5th century AD), a famous Buddhist epic, refers to  various burials, namely cremation, post-incarnation burial, burial of the deceased in a pit, stone chamber or tank burial, covered urn burial. 
  • Iron artifacts found show that  megalithic people engaged in various occupations, including carpenters, shoemakers, bamboo craftsmen, etc., indicating a  complex social organization.  
  • Bronze figures of animals such as buffaloes, goats, tigers, elephants and antelopes have been found in urn burials at the Adichanallur site  in Tamil Nadu.

MCQs about Thoppikkallu

Question 1: What are hat stones, commonly known as “Thoppikkallu” in Malayalam?

a) Stones used to build megalithic monuments
b) Hemispherical laterite stones used as lids on burial urns
c) Large stones used for constructing dolmens
d) Decorative stones used in megalithic tombs

Question 2: What is the significance of the recent discovery of megalithic hat stones in Nagaparamba, Kerala?

a) They provide insights into ancient irrigation systems
b) They shed light on ancient trade routes
c) They offer information about megalithic art styles
d) They may reveal aspects of the life and culture of people from over 2,000 years ago

Question 3: Which ancient culture is associated with the construction of megaliths?

a) Neolithic Culture
b) Paleolithic Culture
c) Megalithic Culture
d) Bronze Age Culture

Question 4: What kind of pottery is often associated with megalithic sites in the Indian subcontinent?

a) Terracotta Ware
b) Black and Red Ware
c) Porcelain Ware
d) Earthenware

Question 5: Which historical literature references the megalithic culture in the Indian subcontinent?

a) Vedic Texts
b) Ramayana
c) Mahabharata
d) Tamil Sangam Literature

Read also:- Gutti Koya tribe

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