2,000-year-old ware in Attappadi: Kerala keen to resume excavation
The findings over the last few years, which include the urn and cist burials of the Megalithic period, point to the existence of a riverine civilisation.
PALAKKAD: The unearthing of russet-coated black-and red-polished earthenware which were over 2,000 years old and dating back to the early Iron Age and inscriptions of the tenth and eleventh centuries calls for a detailed and larger excavation in various parts of Attappadi to find archeological remains.
The findings over the last few years, which include the urn and cist burials of the Megalithic period, point to the existence of a riverine civilisation. The last two field seasons had gone to the waste due to Covid spread. Therefore, the state archaeology department will apply for a licence to excavate the area from its counterparts at the Centre.
“It is only if the central advisory board approves the proposal will it be possible for the exploration. We will submit an application this month and we expect to get the nod by October,” said K Krishnaraj, archaeologist and officer in charge of the Pazhassi Raja Museum, Kozhikode, who had visited the various places in Attappadi. Most of the pre-historic relics and archaeological remains have been found along the three rivers flowing through Attappadi — the Siruvani, Bhavani and Kodumkara Pallam.
“Since 2012, I have been on a mission to find the archaeological remains in the area. I have discovered stone circles, burial urns and chambers, black and red ware pottery, cairn circles, hero stones, stone tools, menhirs and cists, inscriptions in granite and stones which include carvings,” said Dr A D Manikandan who is doing his post-doctoral study on public health in the tribal villages of Attappadi funded by the International Institute of Population Science, Mumbai. Dr Manikandan has also penned and released two books — ‘Attappadi: The Valley of Relics’ (2022) and ‘Attappadi: The Valley of Cultures’ (2022).
“Now I am in the process of penning my third book which is of 1,000 pages which will contain the history of all tribal settlements of Attappadi,” he added. Most of the findings were in the Ummathanpadi, Anakatti, Vattulukki, Mattathkad, Koodapatti, Pilamaram, Nakkupathi, Koodapatti, Kalani Puthur and Gopanari tribal areas of Attappadi. In Murugala which is a Kurumba ooru, there were also the remains of inhabited caves, he added. Attappadi also has places like Nattakallu ooru which meant that it was a tribal settlement of menhirs. However, most of them were damaged and only very little remains exist.
Therefore, many areas need to be excavated at the earliest or else anti-social elements may destroy them since they are not aware of their importance, said Dr Manikandan who is an economist and has secured his doctorate in economics from MG University.
“Initially, it was the blackand red-polished earthen ware which were discovered. Later, copper utensils were also found on the banks of the Kodunkarapallam river at Aanakatti in our panchayat. Locally, the rocks on which inscriptions were found were known as ‘Ezhuthupara’. We have stored all earthen ware and copper utensils in the panchayat,” said Sholayur panchayat president P Ramamoorthy.
“Considering the rich antiquity in the area, my aim is to set up an international tribal museum in Attappadi,” said Dr Manikandan.