Context: The TN Department of Archaeology has declared five ‘menhir’ (single stone) and megalithic burial sites at Kodumanal in Erode district as protected monuments.
- Kodumanal, located on the northern banks of the Noyyal, made it to the archaeology map in 1961 when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) started the first dig.
- In the 2021 Budget, the State government announced that Kodumanal would be declared a protected archaeological site.
What are megaliths?
- A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct (burial sites/ commemorative memorials) a prehistoric structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones.
- The majority of the megaliths in India are dated by archaeologists to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC), while some sites date back as far as 2000 BC.
- Megaliths are spread across the Indian subcontinent. However, the majority of megalithic sites are found in Peninsular India.
Types of megalithic structures: Stone circles, Dolmen (placing a large capstone on two or more support stones), Cist (coffin-like box), Monolith (menhir), etc.