Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Explorations at Megalithic Dolmen Site near Moodbidri


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Megalithic Dolmens

Mains level: NA

Megalithic Dolmen Site

Central Idea

  • Recent archaeological explorations near Moodbidri in Dakshina Kannada have unveiled a fascinating array of terracotta figurines, offering insight into the megalithic culture of the region.

About Megalithic Dolmen Site

  • Megalithic Culture: The megalithic culture is renowned for its distinct burial practices and the use of iron in ancient India, with dolmens being a significant part of this culture.
  • Dolmen Features: Dolmens were characterized by the arrangement of colossal stone slabs known as orthostats, forming a square room. These chambers were sealed with another massive stone slab as a capstone. Typically, a round or U-shaped entrance, referred to as a port hole, was carved into the eastern slab.
  • Variety of Names: This intriguing architectural phenomenon was known by various names in South India, such as Kalmane, Pandavara Mane, Moriyara Mane, and Moriyara Betta, indicating its popularity among the local populace.

Key Findings at the Site

  • Dating to 800-700 BC: The unearthed figurines have been dated to approximately 800-700 BC, providing valuable insights into the historical timeline of the dolmen site.
  • Nine Dolmens: The Mudu Konaje site stands as one of the largest megalithic dolmen complexes, comprising nine dolmens situated on the slopes of a stone hill.

Terracotta Figurines found

  • Cow Bovines: Two cow bovines were identified among the figurines. One is a solid handmade representation with a bull’s head, measuring approximately 9 cm in height and 5 cm in width. This figurine exhibits distinct femininity, with attached breasts. It features applique ornamentation and a grove line from the right arm to the left side of the neck.
  • Peacocks: Two peacock figurines were discovered. One is a solid peacock, measuring about 11 cm in height and 7 cm in width, and is colored with red ochre.
  • Mother Goddess: A torso of a mother goddess was found, devoid of head, hands, and legs.


  • Chronology Determination: The cow bovine figurines discovered within the dolmens offer crucial insights into dating the dolmen structures.
  • Terracotta Insights: The terracotta artifacts found in megalithic burials provide valuable material for studying the Bhoota cult or Daiva Aradhane in coastal Karnataka.
  • Cultural Parallels: The cow bovines, especially the Cow goddess, draw parallels with megalithic terracotta figurines in Malampuzha, Kerala, and Egypt.

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