Megalithic Sites in Karnataka

Karnataka in india has a rich treasure of relics ancient remains, vestiges, ancient monuments of archaeological and also historical importance. It has its own heritage intertwined with culture. There are many Neolithic and megalithic sites in Karnataka The ancient monuments of noted ruling dynasties have stood the test of time even after thousands of years. Their style, inbuilt, sculpture, architecture, technique, vastness and magnitude have wonders of their own.

Hirebenakal, Hampi
Hirebenakal in Karnataka is a large and diverse Megalithic site 50 kilometres from the grand monuments of Hampi. It is among a few Indian megalithic sites dated 800 BCE to 200 BCE which are located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west of Gangavati town in Koppal district and 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Hospet city. It contains roughly 400 megalithic funerary monuments, dated to the transition period between Neolithic and the Iron Age periods. Known locally in the Kannada language as elu guddagalu, their specific name is Moryar Gudda (gudda means hill in Karnataka). Hire Benakal is reported to be the largest necropolis among the 2000 odd megalithic sites found in South India, mostly in Karnataka. Since 1955, it has been under the management of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) within the Dharwad circle. Hire Benakal has been proposed for recognition as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The site is hardly known to the outside world apart from a handful of archaeologists. While Megalithic sites are scattered all over southern India, with many small clusters located close to the Tungabhadra itself, few are as vast as this Iron Age cemetery. This makes Hirebenakal an important site for archaeologists and anthropologists trying to uncover the mysteries of the lives of our ancestors as they made the transition from the Neolithic Age (New Stone Age) to the Iron Age.

Brahmagiri is an archaeological site located in the Chitradurga district of the state of Karnataka, India. Legend has it that this is the site where age Gautama Maharishi (also spelt Gauthama Maharshi) and his wife Ahalya lived. He was one among seven noted Hindu saints (Saptharshi mandalam). This site was first explored by Benjamin L. Rice in 1891, who discovered rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka here. These rock edicts indicated that the locality was termed as Isila and denoted the southernmost extent of the Mauryan empire. The Brahmagiri site is a granite outcrop elevated about 180 m. above the surrounding plains and measures around 500 m east-west and 100 m north-south. It is well known for the large number of megalithic monuments that have been found here. The earliest settlement found here has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BC. In 1947, Mortimer Wheeler further excavated the site on behalf of the Archaeological Survey of India. The region was excavated again in 1956 by Seshadri and by Amalananda Ghosh in 1965 and 1978.

Excavation has revealed medieval stone temples, pottery, terracota beads and figurines, semiprecious stones and megalithic structures. there have been traces of cultures: Microlithic, Neolithic, Iron Age, Maurya and Chalukya-Hoysala. He named the microlithic culture as Roppa culture after the Roppa village within which the microlithic trench was located. He also found out that the neoliths found in this region were evidence of the occupation of this region by farming-herding communities in the pre-megalithic period.

Bavali, Kodagu
Stone structures resembling tombs, believed to belong to the megalithic period, have been found in a remote village that borders Madikeri and Virajpet taluks in Kodagu district in February, 2008. The tomb-like structure lies close to the Puttumadu Aiyappa and Chamundi temples in the village. M.A. Appaiah, a retired Superintendent of Police, who lives close by communicated this to the officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) recently.