Megalithic-era cave discovered in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada

This is probably the first rock engraving dating back to the Megalithic period found in Dakshina Kannada district, Murugeshi said in the release
Last Updated 27 April 2022, 09:07 IST

A unique type of rock-cut cave has been found at Aturu-Kundaje government cashewnut plantation near Ramakunja in Kadaba taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, said Prof Murugeshi T, Associate Professor and HoD department of History and Archaeology, MSRS College, Shirva. Probably it is the first rock engraving from the Megalithic period found in the region, he said.

The Megalithic culture was a dominating culture of South India. It was known for its fascinating burials and curious data. The southwestern coast of Karnataka and Kerala had recorded a very special type of Megalith-like rock-cut-caves scooped out from laterite earth.

Normally, the rock-cut caves have a 2.5 or 3 feet circular opening in the centre cut into the laterite soil about a metre deep and the bottom cut into hemispherical shape. Such rock-cut caves are common in the southwest coast of Karnataka. However, a small variation is found in Kerala with side openings on the sub-surface but the central opening was common in both the cases, he explained.

In the cave near Ramakunja, there is no central opening. But a huge engraving of a circle of about seven-feet-diameter is found above the laterite surface and exactly below this in the same dimension is a hemispherical cave with a side opening about two feet in height. This side entrance is designed like a door frame and is oriented to the north-east direction, he added.

Usually, Megalithic burials are marked by stone circles, menhirs and stone carnes. But, this is the first time in India, a sepulchre marked by a circle or zero has been found. It brings up an interesting question --- Did the Megalithic people know about zero or did they invent it?' ---- he said.

"No grave articles were found inside the cave, but we noticed an altar-like pit at the centre. Very small pieces of red, black and red pottery were found in small quantities in the cave. Probably, the cave was robbed by the locals," he said.

Students Shreyas, Goutham, Shariq, Karthik, Dishanth and Vishal Rai worked for two days exploring the cave.

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(Published 26 April 2022, 16:23 IST)

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