Megalithic era sarcophagus unearthed at Viyur

The sarcophagus discovered from a rock-cut cave at Viyur village of Kollam.

A rich culture existed in the region

A rare sarcophagus (stone coffin), said to be 2,000-year old from the Iron Age–Megalithic era, was discovered from a rock-cut cave at Viyur village of Kollam, near Koyilandy, in Kozhikode district on Monday.

The coffin containing bone fragments was found during an excavation. “So far, such a rare finding has been discovered only from two sites in Kerala .  Both these sarcophagi were recovered from Megalithic sites at Chevayur and Atholi, also in Kozhikode district,” K. Krishnaraj of the Archaeology Department, who is supervising the excavation, said.

The bone fragments could be of either a man or a woman. They will be sent for carbon dating using accelerator mass spectrometry at the Beta Analytical Laboratory in California, he said. Excavation at the site commenced after a hemispherical rock-cut chamber was discovered in a compound while flattening land using an earthmover. The cave, with an inside pillar, measuring 1.9 metres in diameter, has a height of 90 centimetres.

The entrance of the cave was on the eastern side. “The square-shaped door has equal length of 50 centimetres on all sides. Different types of pottery, mostly four-legged jars and iron implements, were found in the cave, ” he said.

Sarcophagi was found in many archaeological sites in South India earlier. Some are adorned with a sculpture or inscription. But two types are usually found with bovine features or with legs.

“As of now, we have obtained preliminary details about the excavations. However, it can be confirmed that a rich Megalithic culture existed in the region following the discoveries of pre-Iron age civilisation earlier. The excavation will continue for another week,” Mr. Krishnaraj said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode / by Biju Govind / Kozhikode – January 16th, 2018