TIRUPATHUR: Stone axes were the key tools in the Neolithic period, during which people moved from hunting to agro-pastoral production. Such tools are found in big numbers outside small temples and under trees in tribal hamlets atop Jawadhu Hills in Tirupathur district.
A team of archaeology buffs led by Dr G Mohan Gandhi, professor of Tamil, Sacred Heart College, Tirupathur, recently stumbled upon several stone axes in these hamlets.
The tools are either kept in a row under a tree outside temples or placed upon sand lumps in burial places. Even without realising the archaeological and cultural value of the stone axes, the tribals consider them sacred and worship them.
“The stone axes, belonging to the Neolithic period, are abundant in tribal villages of Jawadhu Hills in Tirupathur district. We have noticed them kept outside temples and under trees by the local tribesmen,” Mohan Gandhi said.
They are seen in tiny hamlets in Pudurnadu, Pungampattu, Nellivasal and Kambukudi.
“In some places, the tribals apply ‘viboothi’ and ‘bindi’ on the tools to worship them. Even though they may not be aware of the archaeological and cultural values of such tools, they keep them safe,” he noted.
The team included Tamil cultural researchers M Munisamy (Kani Nilam), Dr R Govidaraj, S Kulaindasamy and Vendan.
The local tribesmen found the stone tools on streams and agricultural fields and collected them before piling them up outside temples.
Dr Sivanandam, Deputy Director (DD) of the State Department of Archaeology, noted that Neolithic tools are found in several places in northern parts of Tamil Nadu including Vellore, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri.
“The stone tools are evidence for the presence of people belonging to the Neolithic period in these regions,” he said.