Skip to main content

Situating megalithic burials in the Iron Age-Early Historic landscape of southern India

  • Smriti Haricharan (a1), Hema Achyuthan (a2) and N. Suresh (a3)

The megalithic burials of southern India—a wonderfully varied set of monuments—have long needed a chronology and a context. Broadly contemporary with the Roman and Sasanian empires, these dolmens, cairns and cists have continually raised contradictions with their material contents. The authors attack the problem using luminescence applied to pottery at the site of Siruthavoor in north-east Tamilnadu. Although sharing material culture, this first pilot project gave dates ranging from 300 BC to AD 600, so exposing the problem and perhaps, in OSL, its long-term solution.

Hide All
Agrawal, P., Kusumgar, S., Lal, D. & Saran, R.P.. 1964. Tata Institute radiocarbon date list II. Radiocarbon 6: 22632.
Allchin, F.R. 1974. Pottery from graves in the Perumal hills near Kodaikanal, in Ghosh, A.K. (ed.) Perspectives in paleoanthropology: Professor B.Sen Festschrift: 299-308. Calcutta: Firmak. L.Mukhopadhyay.
Allchin, B. & Allchin, F.R.. 1983. The rise of civilization in India and Pakistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Banerjee, N.R. 1956. The megalithic problem of Chingleput in the light of recent exploration. Ancient India 12: 2134.
Begley, V. 1986. From Iron Age to Early Historical south Indian archaeology, in Jacobson, J. (ed.) Studies in the archaeology of India and Pakistan: 297317. New Delhi: Oxford & IBH.
Bluszcz, A. 2004. OSL dating in archaeology, in Scott, E.M., Alekseev, A.Y. & Zaitseva, G. (ed.) Impact of the environment on human migration in Eurasia: 137-49. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.
Brubaker, R. 2001. Aspects of mortuary variability in the south Indian Iron Age. Bulletin of the Deccan College Post-graduate & Research Institute 60-61: 253302.
Cammiade, L.A. 1930. Tangal, Chingleput District, Madras. Man 30: 18687.
Childe, G.V. 1946. The distribution of Megalithic cultures, and their influence on ancient and modern civilizations. Man 46: 97.
Deshpande, M.N. (ed.) 1974. Indian archaeology 70-71: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Deshpande, M.N. 1975. Indian archaeology 71-72: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Dorje, H.C. & Banerji, A. (ed.). 2000. Indian archaeology 94-95: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Ghosh, A. (ed.). 1969. Indian archaeology 64-65: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Ghosh, A. 1973. Indian archaeology 65-66: a review. NewDelhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Ghosh, A. (ed.). 1989. An encyclopedia of Indian archaeology, volume 2: a gazetteer of explored and excavated sites in India. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
Gururaja Rao, B.K. 1972. Megalithic culture in south India. Mysore: University of Mysore.
Haricharan, S. & Achyuthan, H.. 2012. The megalithic burial potteries of Siruthavoor: micromorphology, in Pisipaty, S.R. (ed.) Multifaceted studies in south Asian archaeology. Arpitam. Festschrift for Professor Vidula Jayaswal (British Archaeological Reports international series 2361): 107-12. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Joshi, M.C. (ed.). 1993a. Indian archaeology 87-88: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Joshi, M.C. 1993b. Indian archaeology 88-89: a review New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Krishnaswami, V.D. 1949. Megalithic types of south India. Ancient India 5: 3545.
Lal, B.B. (ed.). 1971. Indian archaeology 68-69: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Lal, B.B. 1973. Indian archaeology 69-70: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Leshnik, L.S. 1972. Pastoral nomadism in India and Pakistan. World Archaeology 4: 15066.
Leshnik, L.S. 1974. South Indian ‘megalithic’ burials: the Pandukal complex. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner.
Lipo, C.P., Feathers, J.K. & Dunnell, R.C.. 2005. Temporal data requirements, luminescence dates, and the resolution of chronological structure of late prehistoric deposits in the central Mississippi river valley. American Antiquity 70: 52744.
Menon, K.G. (ed.). 2002. Indian archaeology 96-97: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
McIntosh, J. R.. 1985. Dating the south Indian megaliths, in Schotsmanns, J. & Taddei, M. (ed.) South Asian archaeology: 467-94. Naples: Universitario Orientale, Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici.
Misra, V.N. 2001. Prehistory of human colonization of India. Journal of Bioscience 26: 491531.
Mitra, D. (ed.). 1983a. Indian archaeology 79-80: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Mitra, D. (ed.). 1983b. Indian archaeology 80-81: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Mitra, D. (ed.). 1984. Indian archaeology 81-82: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Mohanty, R.K. & Selvakumar, V. 2002. The archaeology of the megaliths in India: 1947-1997, in Settar, S. & Korisettar, R. (ed.) Indian archaeology in retrospect, volume 1: prehistory, archaeology of South Asia: 313-481. New Delhi: Manohar.
Moorti, U.S. 1994. Megalithic culture of south India: socio economic perspectives. Varanasi: Ganga Kaveri.
Morrison, K.D. 2005. Brahmagiri revisited: a re-analysis of the south Indian sequence, in Jarrige, C. & Lefevre, V. (ed.) South Asian archaeology 2001: 257-62. Paris: Recherche sur les Vivilisations-ADPF.
Narasimhaiah, B. 1980. Neolithic and megalithic cultures of Tamilnadu. New Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan.
Possehl, G.L. 1994. Radiometric dates for South Asian archaeology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.
Rajan, K. 2000. South Indian memorial stones. Thanjavur: Manoo Pathippagam.
Rajan, K. 2008. Situating the beginning of Early Historic times in Tamilnadu: some issues and reflections. Social Scientist 36: 4078.
Rajmohan, N. & Elango, L.. 2005. Nutrient chemistry of ground water in an intensely irrigated region of southern India. Environmental Geology 47: 82030.
Reddy, V.R. 1991. Neolithic and post-Neolithic cultures. New Delhi: N.D. Mittal.
Shanmugam, P. 2000. The Black and Red Ware habitations in Tamil country: a study, in Kamalakar, G. (ed.) South Indian archaeology: 3539. New Delhi: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan.
Sherratt, A. 1990. The genesis of megaliths: monumentality, ethnicity and social complexity in Neolithic north-west Europe. World Archaeology 22: 14767.
Smith, E. 1915. A note on megalithic monuments. Man 47: 9293.
Sundara, A. 1979. Typology of megaliths in south India, in Agrawal, D.P. & Chakrabarti, D.K. (ed.) Essays in Indian protohistory: 331-40. New Delhi: BR.
Thapar, B.K. (ed.). 1979. Indian archaeology 74-75: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Thapar, B.K. 1980. Indian archaeology 76-77: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Thomas, P.J., Nagabhushanam, P. & REDDY, D.V.. 2008. Optically stimulated luminescence dating of heated materials using single-aliquot regenerative-dose procedure: a feasibility study using archaeological artefacts from India. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 78190.
Tomber, R. 2007. Rome and Mesopotamia— importers into India in the first millennium AD. Antiquity 81: 97288.
Tripathi, R.C. (ed.). 1987. Indian archaeology 84-85: a review. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India.
Wheeler, R.E.M. 1947. Brahmagiri and Chandravalli 1947: megalithic and other cultures in Mysore state. Ancient India 4: 180310.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Related content

Powered by UNSILO


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed