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Largest capstone unearthed in South India

The largest capstone ever found in the country over a pre-historic Menhir Megalith burial site, has been excavated by archaeologists in Neremetta village in Naganur mandal of Siddipet district.

Largest capstone unearthed in South India
The crane from Hyderabad took four hours to lift the 40 ton capstone 
[Credit: Deccan Chronicles]
The capstone weighs 40 tons, is 6.70 metres in length, four metres wide and 65 cm thick. Excavations were carried out in Neremetta village following the discovery of Megalith burials in Pullur Banda village near Siddipet.

There are 50 odd Megalith burial sites in the area, which are classified into three types- Menhir, Cairns and Dolmens. Capstones were placed over graves to protect the body from predators, since it was believed that the soul lives on after death. Telangana has several menhirs, stone circles, dolmens and dolmonoid cists.

Arm bones, three red ware pots, two mixed black and red ware broken pots, and an iron tool were found below a smaller menhir. These Megalith burial sites date back to between 1000 BC and 200 AD.

Largest capstone unearthed in South India
Bones, red ware pots and unearthed at the prehistoric menhir burial site at Neremetta Nemeretta village 
in Siddipet district [Credit: Deccan Chronicles]
Excavation began a fortnight ago under the supervision of N R Visalatch, director of the Telangana Archaeology and Museums Department.

“We can safely say that this is the largest capstone found in South India and one of the largest in the country. We can’t say it’s the world’s largest as there could be much larger ones, we don’t know,” D Ramulu Naik, assistant director of the Department told Deccan Chronicle.

According to P Nagaraju, assistant director, it took four hours for a huge crane summoned from Hyderabad to lift the massive 40 ton capstone.

Asked how pre-historic people could have placed such a massive capstone on the grave, Mr Naik explained, “First they might have dug the grave near a huge capstone, filled it up with gravel and moved the capstone either by rolling it over round stones or logs of wood. Or they could have dug up below a huge capstone and buried the dead and covered it.”

Mr Nagaraju said a piece of an arm bone, two centimetres in length and three other bones were also unearthed in a nearby menhir. The bones and other findings will be sent for DNA testing to CCMB and to the Deccan College of Post Graduate Research in Pune and deeper study.

Source: Deccan Chronicles [March 24, 2017]

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