top of page

Megalithic Culture in Kerala- Iron Age

  • The Iron Age Culture in Kerala has been broadly dated from 1000 BC to 100 AD.

    • People used iron tools.

  • The Iron Age Culture is also Known as Megalithic Culture.

  • Megalith- meaning 'huge stone'.

  • Huge stones were used to bury the dead. Hence the name 'Megalithic Culture'.

Megalithic People

  • They were nomadic people.

  • Hunting was their main occupation.

  • They used iron weapons.

  • There were wars between tribes and even within tribes.

  • In course of time, the tribes transferred themselves from hunting and pastoralism to agriculture.

Important Megalithic Sites

  • The important megalithic sites of Kerala are Edakkal, Kuppakkolli, Marayur, Sinturuni, Porkalam and Eyyal.

Different Types of Burials during Iron Age

  • Cist Burial

  • Dolmen Burial (മുനിയറ)

  • Urn Burial (നന്നങ്ങാടി)

  • Umbrella Stone Burial (കുടക്കല്ല്/തൊപ്പിക്കല്ല്)

Cist Burial

  • Cist is an underground box-like structure made of granite or gneiss.

  • It usually has a porthole on the eastern side, which is closed with a small stone.

  • It is surrounded by Stone Circle.

  • Grave goods are kept inside the Cists in neatly arranged pots on rock benches.

  • Cists are encircled with granite or laterite boulders in several sites in the districts of Trissur, Palakkad, Kannur and Kottayam.

Dolmen Burial (മുനിയറ)

  • Dolmens are similar to Cists in architecture except that they are above the ground and resemble a table .

  • These are usually found in the hill tops.

  • It has five stone blocks of which four are supports and the fifth is a capstone.

  • They are usually oriented towards east. Some of them have a porthole of the eastern stone block.

  • Dolmens are found mostly in the hilly regions of Trissur district and Devikulam and Udumbanchola taluks of Idukki district.

  • Some of the Dolmens are found in the forests of Ranni and Marayur.

Umbrella Stone Burial (കുടക്കല്ല്/തൊപ്പിക്കല്ല്)

  • These were known as 'Kuda kallu' among the people and translated as 'Umbrella Stone' by Thomas Babington (Kuda means umbrella in Malayalam).

  • It has four stone blocks and a capstone resting on it.

  • Umbrella Stones are limited in distribution as compared to other monuments.

  • These are found in the districts of Trissur, Palakkad and Malapuram in Central Kerala and Kozhikode and Kannur districts in North Kerala.

Urn Burial (നന്നങ്ങാടി)

  • These are kept in a pit and are generally covered with a stone slab.

  • Important site: Mangad in Kollam district



bottom of page