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Assorted Shards Of Prehistoric Life
May 07, 2012

Assorted Shards Of Prehistoric Life

A heritage museum unveils the routes of civilisation in Idukki district.

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/history-and-culture/article3391374.ece?homepage=true

07 May 2012

Giji K. Raman, PAINAVU (Idukki District):

Everyday tools and utensils, vanity bits and pieces and personal effects of the people of one period turn into objects of interest for a later generation. So it is with the burial urns, polished pottery, swords and other weapons made of iron, copper beads and stone axes of an ancient era displayed at a heritage museum at Kuyilimala, near here, which will be opened on Monday.

They, along with the miniature form of a dolmen found in Marayoor, will unveil the remains of a rich civilisation before a curious public. The pottery pieces, an exclusive collection of the Megalithic era, are unique in style and creation.

The museum has been established in the first phase of the district panchayat's “Discovering Idukki” project, which was inaugurated by Panchayats Minister M.K. Muneer in January.

To collect evidence of the Megalithic era, an exploration team visited the villages and marked nearly 80 new Megalithic sites, mainly on the eastern part of the Western Ghats, as important and requiring further studies. Many sites are facing extinction from construction work, and the exploration team collected as many relics as possible from them.

It is evident that the district hosted a rich civilisation in the hills near the rivers even in the prehistoric period.

The menhirs spread over a large area in the High Ranges, especially near the Periyar and its tributaries, are one proof. At Anjuruli and Memarikudi inside the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, many more menhirs are found, pointing to the need for further studies. Burial urns and fine pottery were collected from a construction site at Karithodu, near Nedumkandam.

District panchayat president Alex Kozhimala says opening the museum has become necessary as the district has many prehistoric sites where excavations and studies are yet to be taken up seriously. “The archaeological studies, at present, are mainly confined to the dolmens and cave paintings at Marayoor. However, the burial urns and remains of cellars in other places in the district need to be preserved,” he says.

The museum is aimed at providing a glimpse of the rich and vast cultural inheritance from the prehistoric period. The remains collected by the exploration team reveal the lifestyle of the Megalithic period.

The exhibits have been displayed in the museum in a natural ambience in such a way as advised by archaeology experts.