Keezhanur Neolithic Site, Javadi Hills
A “Center” for sharpening polished Neolithic (stone) tools made about 5,000 years ago has been found near the Keezhanur hamlet on the Javadi hills in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The “Center” is bedrock in the middle of a rivulet, about a km from Keezhanur, with 21 grooves. It is in these grooves on the rock surface that the Neolithic man sharpened the edges of his polished stone axes when they got blunted after usage in cultivation. The shallow, trough-shaped grooves were formed by his constantly sharpening the tools against the rock surface.
It is located five km north of Pudur Nadu. This is the first time that grooves used for sharpening stone axes have been found in Tamil Nadu. They have been found at Sangnakallu-Kupagal in Bellary district, Karnataka.
75 polished stone axes of the Neolithic period were collected by Keezhanur villagers on the fields near the rivulet. The villagers have kept these stone tools, along with ordinary stones, near a Ganesh temple and worship them as “Sami kal” (divine stones). There was a bed-rock with grooves which, the villagers believed, were formed by the cattle kneeling on the rock and drinking water from the rivulet. They call the boulder kuzhi eruthu Parai.
The cultural transformation from food gathering to food production is considered a revolution in human history that happened during the Neolithic times. These tools represent the symbol of beginning of agricultural production in south India that took place about 5,000 years ago.” Human beings stayed in one place, observed the seasons and started doing agriculture.
These Stone Tools attained their final shape after passing through four stages: chiseling, pecking, grounding and polishing. The tools got smoothened after being constantly rubbed against the rocks. More rubbing led to their becoming polished tools. Since the Neolithic man constantly used these axes for cutting trees and plants, or digging out tubers from the soil, their sharp, working edges got blunted.
The polished stone tools belonged to two varieties: axes and adzes. While axes were used for cutting trees and plants, the adzes were used for ploughing. The adzes were tied to wooden staff and used for ploughing. After the advent of the Iron Age (circa 1,000 BCE), iron ploughs were made.
The stone axes belonging to the first three stages of their manufacture, viz chiseling, pecking and grounding were not available near Keezhanur, these tools must have been manufactured somewhere. During farming, these stone tools’ sharp edges got blunted. When they were sharpened on the bedrock for re-use, grooves were formed.
In Tamilnadu, Neolithic settlements have been found at Paiyampalli in Dharmapuri, Mayilaadumparai and Kappalavadi in Krishnagiri, and Appukallu in Vellore districts.
Other Places of Interest in Javadi Hills:
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