Page:Catalogue of the prehistoric antiquities from Adichanallur and Perumbair.djvu/8

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iv

PREFACE

either singly, or more rarely in pairs, in pits excavated in the solid rock or in the gravelly soil. In most cases only a selection of bones appears to have been interred, and as there are no evidences of cremation it seems probable that only portions of the body were placed in each urn, a theory which is supported by the small size of many of the latter and the narrowness of their mouths.

The burial urns and other articles of pottery which constitute the majority of the objects found at Ādichanallūr, do not appear to differ in any important respect from similar finds made in various other South Indian localities. Many of the smaller vessels, some of which it may be remarked closely resemble objects of prehistoric pottery found in Egypt (cf. v. Bissing, Sitzgsb. d. Königl. Bayer. Akad. d. Wissensch. philos.-philol. u. hist. Kl., Jahrg. 1911, 6 Abh.) exhibit a characteristic red and black polished surface, which was the result of friction and not of a true fused glaze. The smaller articles consist for the most part of ordinary domestic utensils, together with stands of various kinds on which the vessels requiring support were placed. Comparatively little applied decoration is found and that practically confined to the large urns. The domestic utensils were found both in the interior of the urns and outside them, and as many contained rice husks they were perhaps originally receptacles for grain intended to serve as food for the spirits of the dead.

The most interesting of the Tinnevelly finds are, however, the objects in metal, as they exist in great variety, a considerable amount of skill has been exercised in their manufacture, and many are of hitherto unknown design. The majority are of iron, but a fair number occur in bronze, and the uses to which some of the more complicated articles were put are still somewhat conjectural. The only objects discovered in any of the precious metals are oval frontlets of gold leaf, which were probably tied round the forehead in the case of certain of the dead, possibly those of rank or importance.