Megalithic ‘menhirs’ face threat of vandalism

A good number of huge pillars known as ‘menhirs’ and erected in the memory of the dead during the megalithic period faced a serious threat of vandalism at Nelatur Gollapalli near Kanigiri in Prakasam district.

E. Sivanagi Reddy, archaeologist and CEO, Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA), who inspected the megalithic avenues along with local historian Jyothi Chandramouli, has said more than 100 granite pillars had been erected in an extent of 25 acres, towards the north-east corner of the village.

The ‘menhirs’, erected in front of the iron age burials, indicated by a heap of pebbles, are spread in the entire area. The ‘menhirs’ vary in shape and size measuring 3.0 to 4.0 feet at the base and 6-0 to 10-0 feet in height above the ground level (and 4.0 or 5.0 feet buried in the ground), with a thickness of 9 inches to 18 inches.

Collective effort

Dr. Reddy has said that these monuments reflect the engineering skills and collective effort of the iron age people in collecting and planting in front of the burials. But these archaeological remains, which bear a lot of historical significance of Andhra Pradesh, have been subjected to vandalism and as a result only about 25 such monuments still remained. The local people reveal that profuse quantity of pot shreds, including red ware, black ware, black and red ware along with iron implements, have been seen at the time of widening the road and digging of irrigation canal and this indicates the iron age evidence.

“It is high time the State government take steps to declare the site as a protected one and preserve for posterity the priceless heritage,” they say.

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