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About The Megalithic Dolmen Site

Context:

Unique terracotta figurines in different states of preservation have been found in recent archaeological explorations conducted in the megalithic dolmen site at Mudu Konaje, near Moodbidri, in Dakshina Kannada.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Megalithic Dolmen Site
  2. Key Findings at the Mudu Konaje Megalithic Dolmen Site
  3. Significance of Findings

Megalithic Dolmen Site:

  • The Megalithic culture in India is known for its distinctive burial practices and the use of iron.
  • Dolmen is one of the significant burial structures associated with the Megalithic culture. It exhibits certain key features:
    • Orthostats: Massive stone slabs were erected in a clockwise order to create the walls of a square room or chamber.
    • Capstone: This square chamber was enclosed or covered by another large stone slab known as the capstone, forming a roof or ceiling for the structure.
    • Entrance: Typically, an entrance was incorporated into the structure, often on the eastern slab, in the form of a round or U-shaped opening known as a port hole.
  • In South India, dolmens are known by various names, including Kalmane, Pandavara Mane, Moriyara Mane, and Moriyara Betta, reflecting their popularity among the local communities.

Key Findings at the Mudu Konaje Megalithic Dolmen Site:

  • The figurines discovered at the Mudu Konaje site are datable to around 800-700 BC, shedding light on the ancient period to which this site belongs.
  • The Mudu Konaje site is notable for being the largest megalithic dolmen site in the region, featuring nine dolmens situated on the slope of a stone hill.
  • Among the eight figurines unearthed at the site, there are various representations, including two cow bovines, one mother goddess, two peacocks, a horse, the hand of a mother goddess, and an unknown object.
  • The first cow bovine figurine is a solid handmade representation, standing at about 9 cm in height and 5 cm in width. It features a bull’s head, and its femininity is evident through the depiction of two breasts attached using the applique method. There is also a groove running from below the right arm to the left side of the neck. The figurine displays two arms, with the hands being broken. It has a flattened, wide belly and a round section below the belly. Indications of two legs are clear, and there is an elongated round bun at the back of the head, possibly serving as headgear.
  • The second cow bovine figurine is another solid handmade piece, measuring approximately 7.5 cm in height and 4 cm in width. It features a bovine snout and a distinctive headgear. Applique ornamentation is present around the neck and below the belly. Instead of legs, there is a prop at the bottom to support the image.
  • One of the two peacock figurines is a solid representation, standing at about 11 cm in height and 7 cm in width. It is colored with red ochre, and its feathers are depicted as facing downward.
  • The second peacock figurine consists of an elongated head created separately, which can be inserted into a shallow body. Unfortunately, the body is missing, and the feathers are designed to point upwards.
  • The torso of a mother goddess was found but is lacking a head, hands, and legs.

Significance of Findings:

  • The cow bovine figurines discovered at the site are of particular significance as they aid in determining the chronology of the dolmens and provide insights into the cultural context of the region.
  • The terracottas found in the megalithic burial site offer valuable information for the study of the Bhoota cult or Daiva Aradhane (worship of spirits) in coastal Karnataka.
  • The presence of cow bovine or cow goddess figurines in the dolmens is noteworthy, and these findings exhibit parallels with megalithic terracotta figurines found in Malampuzha, Kerala, and Egypt.

-Source: The Hindu


 

June 2024
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