Books and Burials
SILENT SENTINELS: THE MEGALITHS
Megaliths are stone structures. They were used to mark a burial site. A single large stone or several stones could be used to compose a megalith. Some megaliths could be seen above the ground, but some could be underground as well.
The practice of erecting megaliths began around 3000 years ago. This practice was prevalent in the Deccan, the south India, the north-east and Kashmir. Megaliths were probably erected to serve as a signpost. This helped in easily locating the burial site.
The dead were usually buried along with distinctive pots. These were called the read ware and black ware. Iron tools and skeletons of horses have also been found from some burial sites. This shows that iron was being used by the Aryans. This also shows the importance of horse for the people. Moreover, ornaments of gold and stone have also been found from the burial sites.
Difference in social status: There is an important megalithic site in south India; called Brahmagiri. From one of the graves, skeleton have been found with 33 gold beads, 2 stone beads, 4 copper bangles and one conch shell. Other skeletons have been found with only a few pots. These remains reveal some interesting insights.
- There were differences in social status of people.
- People usually buried the personal belongings with the dead body.
Family Burial Site: Some of the burial sites have revealed many skeletons. Historians guess that these were family burial sites. Stone circles or boulders were placed on the surface. They worked as signposts to easily locate the burial site.
Inamgaon: A special burial site
Inamgaon is in the modern state of Maharashtra. This is located about 89 km to the east of Pune. Inamagon is situated near the Ghod river. Ghod river is a tributary of Bhima. Inamgaon was occupied between 3600 and 2700 years ago.
Usually adults were buried at this site. The dead body was laid straight; with the head facing towards north.
Some of the burial was done inside the house. People used to place vessels along with the dead. The vessels probably contained food items.
From one of the sites; a four-legged jar had been found. A skeleton was inside that jar. The jar was placed in the courtyard of a five-room house. This was among the largest houses at the site. A granary was also present in the house. The man was laid to rest in a cross-legged position. Historians guess that it must have been an important and rich person. The person could have been a rich farmer or the head of the village.
Occupations of People at Inamgaon:
Remains of wheat, barley, lentils, millets and sesame have been found from the Inamgaon site. Remains of various animals have been found; like cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, dog, horse, ass, pig, sambhar, spotter deer, blackbuck, antelope, hare and mongoose. Remains of birds, crocodiles, turtles, crab and fish have also been found from this site. Many animal bones show cut marks. This suggests that these animals were used as food. Archaeologists have also found the evidence of use of ber, amla, jamun, dates and many other fruits.
The above findings show that farming was the main occupation of people of Inamgaon. Animals were domesticated for milk and meat. Wild animals were also killed for meat.
How do Historians Study the Skeleton:
The skeletons of an adult and a child can be easily differentiated. But it is difficult to differentiate between the male and female skeletons. The pelvic bone (hip bone) is wider in women; for child bearing purposes. Thus the relative size of the pelvic bone gives a clue about male or female skeleton.