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It seems ancient Chennaivasis believed in reincarnation. Their burial monuments testify to this. They didn’t cremate the dead but buried them. On top of the burial ground, they raised the stone monuments.

Recent research has shown that Chennai has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years. Megalithic burial sites going back to 3,000 years have been found around Chennai. These burial sites were raised during the time last rites were performed following the death of a person. Researchers Krishnaswamy Iyengar, TV Mahalingam have concluded that Great Stone Age flourished in the Kancheepuram region. Some 200 Great Stone Age sites have been found in the Chennai metropolitan area. These include Tirupporur, Siruthavur, Thanur, Amirthamangalam, Pallavarm, Vadamangalam, Venpakkam and Senpakkam where burial monuments have been found.

It seems ancient Chennaivasis believed in reincarnation. Their burial monuments testify to this.

Various types of burial monuments have been found. Dolmenoid cists are one type.

Dolmenoid Cists were constructed on the surface. Naturally occurring big stones were used to make walls on all sides to make a square-shaped room. A stone floor was laid on which burial things were placed. Then the room was closed by placing one or more stone slabs on top.

Smaller walls were raised around the monument for protection. Sand, small pebbles or stones were used to close the entrance. Around these mounds, round shaped stones were placed in a circule. Such Dolmenoid Cists have been found in Sanoor, Sengunram, Thiruvelangadu and Perambur.

Slabbed Cists are those in which the ground was dug up and stone slabs were placed all around to create a room. Each stone slab were placed in such a way that it would support other slabs. Looking from above, the shape of this would look like a Swastika. Burial things were placed inside the cavity closed using a stone slab. On top of this, sand or pebbles were used to raise a mound. Such cists were found in Amirthamangalam.

In Cairn Circle, deep holes were dug in which the burial ark and things used for last rites were placed. These were covered using sand. Around the monument, stones were placed in a circular pattern. Cairn Circles were found in Kunnathur, Kunnavakkam, Sanur, Pallaaram, Perumbur and so on.

Burial Urns were made of burnt clay and looked like a long casket. The bottom of the urns has several legs on which the urn can stand while the top portion would be shaped like an animal such as a goat and would cover the urn. Burial urns have been found in Kunnathur, Perumbur, Sanur, Siruvanur and so on.

Such burial sites are of two types. Those found in southern Kancheepuram area were made of big granite slabs that were naturally occurring. The northern ones were made of laterite rocks that can be carved.

Amirthamangalam is located in Gummidipoondi some 10 km west of Kavarapettai. Like all such burial sites, here also a stream and a lake are found near the sites. Some 250 burial chambers have been found here. But here one doesn’t find the typical stone inscriptions.

The Archaeological Survey of India excavated this area in 1954-55 and found five burial sites. Bright red urns that had elongated bottoms, round center portions and open mouths were found containing skeletons, bones, iron implements and red-black clay vessels. Some burial urns had dome-shaped lids, too.

These excavations show that among the occupations of the people were making iron implements and clay vessels that were extensively used in these parts. These clay vessels were suitable for domestic use.

All over Chengalpattu, lakes and reservoirs have been found. These were dug by Great Stone Age people.

Big clay jars were used to store grains or bury the dead. Making these clay vessels was a fairly advanced craft here. These pots were of four types: Black and red ware, black ware, red ware, and russet-coated ware. The red-black wares were used for cooking. Red wares were larger and used as burial urns and to store grains. The neck portion of these urns contained figurines that were painted on them.

Mudhumakkal Thaazhi

Next to clay wares, iron implements were also found. Iron working was well known here. Iron was melted and made into different useful implements. The tools were largely to wage war and hunt animals. Swords, knives, spears, arrows and javelins were made here. Further, many agricultural implements have also been found such as sickles, hoes and axes.

Agriculture is key to civilization. The farming practices found in New Stone Age had established in latter part of Great Stone Age. All over Chengalpattu, lakes and reservoirs have been found. These were dug by Great Stone Age people. They were keen on storing water and used the water for agriculture.

In Kunnathur, a burial chamber was found to have a copper cup with husk. This showed that storing grain produce from farming was widespread in these parts. Cotton was also grown here.

The portholes located in the eastern side of the burial chambers show that the people may have been sun-worshippers.

The people here were hunters, too. Implements used to fight in war were used to hunt down animals, too. Iron fishhooks have been along with wolf bones in the burial urns. The people had raised cattle such as cows, buffaloes and goats, as well as horses. Horse reins have also been found in burial chamber, showing the people rode horses probably in battle.

The people lived in groups in mud houses with thatched roofs as well as burnt bricks. Agriculture was the main occupation. Collective living helped to dig a network of ponds, lakes and reservoirs necessary for agriculture. They wore cotton clothes and wore jewellery made of precious stones. Women wore bangles made of conch, too.

The portholes located in the eastern side of the burial chambers show that the people may have been sun-worshippers.


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