- NET Web Desk
Megalithic stone jars discovered along Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district have brought to attention on the potential links between India’s Northeast and Southeast Asia, dating back to the 4th century BC.
Recently, researchers from different institutions of Northeast India have spotted the stone jars across 7 sites of Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills. These incorporates of – Saipung, New Plang Moi, Thuruk, Mualhoi, Mualsei Thialsen Tlang, Mualsei Neng Seng, and Mualsei Lungmaicham.
According to a study published in the Archaeological Research in Asia journal, the carbon dates of the sites demonstrate that burial customs persisted-up until the 14th century AD.
“Stone jar culture from Laos and the Jaintia Hills coexisted for a very long time,” informed the corresponding author of the study – Marco Mitri.
As per the study, there is strong material evidence from the excavation indicating the stone jars are visible artefacts that were over a pit holding post-cremated cultural remains of the dead.
“A small-scale excavation of four jars in the East Jaintia Hills have helped to provide key insights on the mortuary practices of the people who made and used these stone jars,” – informed the study.
Megalithic jar sites have been discovered in the East Jaintia Hills, along the Saipung Reserve Forest – a designated wildlife sanctuary in Meghalaya. The entire area is renowned for its extensive megalithic landscapes, which include megalithic jars, circular stone slabs, seating platforms, tall standing stones, and dolmens.
In Northeast India, the stone jars were initially discovered in 1929 by James Philip Mills and John Henry Hutton along Assam’s North Cachar Hills. However, this unique archaeological phenomenon were first reported by McCarthy (1900) in Laos and subsequently by the French archaeologist Madeleine Colani in 1935.
Mills and Hutton earlier suggested that these jars were associated with mortuary rituals. They referred to the “practices of ancestral bone repository of tribes like Mikir, Sakchips, Hangkals, Kuki, Khasi and Synteng and evidence of cremated bone fragments placed in one of the jars”.
In accordance with their significance, the researchers had earlier suggested that additional surveys are requisite across Assam, as well as in Meghalaya and Manipur, “to understand the extent of this culture”.