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Neolithic Child Burial Site Unearthed in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu

A groundbreaking archaeological discovery has been made in Chettimedu Pathur village, approximately 77 kilometres from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Researchers from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Madras have unearthed a child burial site dating back to the Neolithic period, around 2500 BCE to 3000 BCE, offering new insights into ancient burial rites and cultural practices in the region.

Discovery and Excavation

Initial Findings

The excavation, spearheaded by Jinu Koshy, in-charge of excavation and professor in the department, and J Soundararajan, associate professor and head-in-charge, commenced on February 5th. It was prompted by the discovery of material remains following soil erosion and human activity in the area.

Site Description

Located atop a small habitation mound, the site revealed a wealth of artifacts spanning five distinct cultural periods, from the Neolithic to the Medieval period. This diversity underscores the site’s long-term significance and continuous occupation or use over millennia.

Significant Findings

Neolithic Child Burial

Among the most significant discoveries was a Neolithic child’s grave, a rare find in Tamil Nadu’s archaeological record. The child, estimated to be between 9 to 11 years old, was buried with the body oriented north-south and facing west, adhering to ancient burial traditions.


A pot, characteristic of Neolithic pottery styles, was found accompanying the burial, suggesting the ceremonial or cultural importance of the practice. Additionally, the presence of burnished grey ware, previously unreported in Tamil Nadu, indicates technological advancements and possible cultural exchanges during the Neolithic period.

Cultural and Technological Insights

Burnished Grey Ware

The discovery of burnished grey ware at the site is particularly noteworthy. Jinu Koshy highlighted its rarity and significance, stating, “Only a few neolithic sites have been reported so far, and burnished grey ware was not found. At this site, we found burnished grey ware with a burial which is very rare.”

Archaeological Layers

The excavation site was divided into four trenches, revealing a complex cultural sequence across five periods: complementary period, Chola period, Sangam period, Iron Age, and Neolithic period. This stratification provides a comprehensive timeline of human activity and cultural development in the area.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams

  • Tamil Nadu Chief minister: M. K. Stalin;
  • Tamil Nadu Capital: Chennai;
  • Tamil Nadu Governor: R. N. Ravi.

Neolithic Child Burial Site Unearthed in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu_4.1

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