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26 October 2008
Megalithic burial sites found in India

Close on the heels of a megalithic settlement discovery in Babulgaon in Yavatmal district (Maharashtra, India) by a trainee archaeologist, a city student and a lecturer have for the first time unearthed three burial sites near Narkhed, 85 kms from Nagpur in the district. The two discoveries show that Vidarbha is rich in archaeological sites. However the region is also known for megalithic monuments that date back to 1000 BCE.
     The three megalithic burial sites at Vadegaon, Umri and Thugaon Nipani near Narkhed were discovered in the past three days by Virag Sontakke, budding archaeologist trained from Institute of Archaeology, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Delhi, and Gopal Joge, lecturer of history in Maharashtra Udyagiri Mahavidyalaya, Udgir in Latur district.  The sites found by Joge and Sontakke are 107 megalithic burial and habitation sites in Vidarbha. "Vadegaon is located on Nagpur-Delhi railway line, where more than 50 megalithic burials made of basalt stone have been discovered. Most of these monuments are located in two-km barren land, but due to human pressure, megalithic sites are being utilised for agriculture. Six months ago, I had sighted these stones while travelling to Delhi. Since then I had decided to know about it. Today, I've discovered it, Sontakke said.
     About the second site in Umri, Sontakke informed that it has only one single stone circle on a flat barren land, which is very rare. The stone circle having diameter of 15 metres shows cup marks. The third site was found in Thugaon Nipani village on Katol-Narkhed road, which people call as 'Nagthana' and is worshipped by villagers on Nag Panchmi. All these stones are rich in cup marks, he adds. "These discoveries are important to learn more about the megalithic culture and the findings look similar to the burial sites found in Mahurzari (1979), Parsheoni (1977), Hingna (1982) by researchers from Nagpur University and Deccan College, Pune. The new sites connect Amravati and Wardha and further research can lead to discovery of more habitations," stressed expert Priyadarshi Khobragade, lecturer with department of ancient Indian history & archaeology, PGTD, Nagpur.

Source: The Times of India (20 October 2008)

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