Paiyampalli Neolithic Sites, Tirupattur, Vellore
Paiyampalli Neolithic Sites is located near Tirupattur Town in Vellore District of Tamilnadu. It is known for the excavation site in the region which has remains of Neolithic and megalithic periods. The excavations in the region carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India headed by Shikaripura Ranganatha Rao in the year 1964-65 and 1967-68. The habitation – cum burial site Paiyampalli (12° 30' N 78° 36'E) lies on Bangalore – Madras trunk road. The excavations conducted in the years 1964-65 and 67-68 at Paiyampalli (Rao) brought to light two cultural periods, viz., the Neolithic (period 1) and the megalithic (period II). The carbon-14 determinations of the charcoal samples indicated for period I A date at 1390±100 B.C and for period II at 315±100 BC.
The excavation revealed two phases A (layers 9 and 8) and B (layers 7, 7a, 6, 6a and 5) in period I. The layers 6a, 6-and 5 of phase B in period I, yielded iron artefacts along with megalithic Black and red ware, Neolithic Grey ware potteries and polished stone axes in one of the middle terrace (IAR: 1967-68:31). The absence of bone tools and the marked preference for built in huts with floors levelled with stone chips and plastered over with-ash- mixed earth showed improvement in the economy of the people in phase B than the earlier culture.
The Neolithic settlers at Paiyampalli used to cultivate cereals and pulses. Charred grains of horse gram and green gram were found in those levels where a few sherds of megalithic pottery occurred in an essentially Neolithic habitation-level. The co-occurrence of Neolithic and megalithic elements in layers 6a, 6 and 5 with an occupational deposit of 30 CMS in period I illustrate the existence of these two cultures for a considerable period of time (200 years) before the emergence of iron using migrant as a single dominant culture in period II.
Period II represented the megalithic culture. The megalithic pottery of Paiyampalli is similar to that of other sites, except in respect of the abundance of a comparatively thin but coarse red ware painted in chocolate, -met with at the habitation. The Black and red ware, all black ware and the red ware formed main ceramic of the period II. Russet coated painted ware made its appearance in the late levels of period II. The megalithic people at Paiyampalli smelted iron and produced a large variety of tools and weapons locally, probably from the time of their arrival c. 500 BC, is indicated by the enormous quantity of iron slag and ore found all over the site. Sickles spears, 'chisels, nails, and axes were found in the habitation area (IAR 111: 1967-68:31).
The excavation at Paiyampalli has provided a firm datum for the introduction of iron in the Northwest part of Tamilnadu. The place is located at about 5 Kms from Tirupattur, 6 Kms from Tirupattur Railway Station, 5 Kms from Tirupattur Bus Stand, 14 Kms from Natrampalli, 9 Kms from Jolarpettai, 89 Kms from Vellore, 224 Kms from Chennai and 216 Kms from Chennai Airport.Location