Page:Catalogue of the prehistoric antiquities from Adichanallur and Perumbair.djvu/7

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PREFACE.


THE two important collections which form the subject of this catalogue were brought together as the result of excavations conducted by Mr. A. Rea, formerly Superintendent of the Archæological Survey of India, Southern Circle, and are exhibited in an extension of the Prehistoric Gallery of the Madras Government Museum which was specially erected for their accommodation. Mr. Rea, for some time prior to his retirement from the service of Government in October 1913, was placed on special duty in connection with the archæological collections in the Museum, and the present catalogue is one of the results of his work.

By far the more extensive of the two finds is that from Ādichanallūr and other localities in the Tinnevelly or most southern district of the Madras Presidency. The Ādichanallūr site was first brought to notice in 1876, when it was visited by Dr. Jagor of Berlin, who secured a considerable number of articles for the Berlin Museum für Völkerkunde. Further explorations were conducted in the winter of 1903-1904, by M. Louis Lapicque of Paris, which resulted in additional collections, and as a result of their examination M. Lapicque arrived at the conclusion that the remains belonged to a Proto-Dravidian race. A detailed investigation of the sites was conducted by Mr. Rea, at intervals from 1899 to 1905, when the present collection and a large number of duplicates were obtained. While admitting that the burial-grounds might be of great antiquity, Mr. Rea was on the whole disposed to think that they were of Pandyan origin and might even have been in use after the commencement of the Christian era.

The burial-ground at Ādichanallūr covers an area of one hundred and fourteen acres and is the most extensive yet discovered in South India. The funeral urns were deposited