Menhirs and dolmens point to major prehistoric necropolis in Kerala

The sighting of new menhirs, perhaps the largest-ever recorded in Kerala, on the Pothamala hills in Udumbanchola taluk on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, has thrown light on the possible existence of a major prehistoric necropolis there.

Menhirs and dolmens point to major prehistoric necropolis in Kerala
Credit: Times of India

The menhirs were identified by a team of historians led by Rajeev Puliyoor, assistant professor at the Government Teachers’ Training College, Elanthoor, near here, during a visit to Shanthanpara village on Tuesday.
Mr. Puliyoor told The Hindu that the Pothamala hills housed hundreds of cobbled stone structures, pointing to the existence of a structured graveyard of a prehistoric civilisation. He added that the largest menhir found was 20 ft tall and 6 ft wide with a thickness of 5 ft.

Harikrishnan M., Jomon Jose and M.S. Jayan, assistant professors at the Nedumkandam B.Ed College, were the other team members.

Menhirs and dolmens point to major prehistoric necropolis in Kerala
Credit: The Hindu

The menhirs were planted in a specific geometrical pattern on a cluster of hills, Mr Puliyoor said. He said the exquisite natural settings of the hills and dales at Pothamala made the yet-to-be explored megalithic site different from similar sites spotted in other parts of the State. Most of these structures were oriented in the east-west direction.
The megalithic stone sentinels at Pothamala might hold the key to hitherto unexplored facets of a civilisation that dated back around 3,000 years, said Mr. Puliyoor. He urged the Archaeological Survey of India and the Archaeology Department to conduct a full-scale excavation and detailed study of this megalithic site without delay.

Seventy megalithic sites have already been identified in different parts of Idukki by researchers and historians, including 40 megalithic sites in Udumbanchola taluk itself. But no serious attempts have been made to understand their distribution pattern.

Author: Radhakrishnan Kuttoor | Source: The Hindu [July 25, 2019]

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Internal Strife Caused by parasites transmitted by biting…

Internal Strife

Caused by parasites transmitted by biting phlebotomine sand flies, leishmaniasis is a widespread disease with several forms, either leading to severe skin complaints or seriously damaging organs, especially the spleen and liver. Upon infection, white blood cells called macrophages engulf the Leishmania parasites. Yet, rather than being destroyed, the parasites thrive, reproducing within the macrophages, inside compartments known as vacuoles (as shown, in a 3D reconstruction based on microscopy images, with a macrophage in white and parasites in red). Recent research suggests this process involves host V-ATPases, complex proteins which control vacuolar pH by shuttling protons across compartment membranes, alongside many other functions. One part of these proteins in particular, upregulated by infection with Leishmania parasites, appears to be important: without it, vacuoles are smaller and parasites become vulnerable to the immune system’s inflammatory response. Interfering with this protein domain could thus open up new possibilities for tackling intracellular parasites.

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Sunken ancient Greek temple, shipwrecks, coins and jewellery found in Egypt’s submerged city Heracleion

Beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, underwater archaeologists were busy digging the sea-bed to uncover more secrets of the sunken cities of Heracleion and Canopus in Abu Qir Bay, in Alexandria.

Sunken ancient Greek temple, shipwrecks, coins and jewellery found in Egypt's submerged city Heracleion
Granite columns and a Greek temple were found during recent dives and studies in the ancient sunken
harbour city Heracleion, off Egypt ‘s north coast [Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

During the recent archaeological season, which was extended up until the past two months, the Egyptian-European mission led by Frank Goddio, Head of the European Underwater Archaeology Institute (Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine) has succeeded in uncovering the remains of a large settlement, a temple, shipwrecks and a collection of coins and jewellery.

Sunken ancient Greek temple, shipwrecks, coins and jewellery found in Egypt's submerged city Heracleion
Byzantine era coin recovered from a wreck in the sunken harbour city Heracleion off Egypt ‘s north coast 
[Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

Ihab Fahmy, Head of the Underwater Archaeology Department at the ministry of antiquities, told Ahram Online that through using a sophisticated scanning and archaeological surveying device, the mission discovered that the city of Canopus is larger than previously thought.

Sunken ancient Greek temple, shipwrecks, coins and jewellery found in Egypt's submerged city Heracleion
Ptolemaic coin recovered from a wreck in the sunken harbour city Heracleion off Egypt ‘s north coast
[Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

It extends one kilometre south. Inside this extension, Fahmy told Ahram Online, the mission uncovered remains of a port, clay pots from the Saite period, bronze and gold coins from the Ptolemaic and Byzantine eras. Jewellery like rings and earrings was also unearthed

Sunken ancient Greek temple, shipwrecks, coins and jewellery found in Egypt's submerged city Heracleion
Well-preserved necklace recovered from a wreck in the sunken
 harbour city Heracleion off Egypt ‘s north coast
[Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

“This suggests that this city has been inhabited since the eight century BC until the Islamic period,” Fahmy said.

Sunken ancient Greek temple, shipwrecks, coins and jewellery found in Egypt's submerged city Heracleion
Archaeologists surveying in the remains of a shipwreck in the sunken 
harbour city Heracleion off Egypt ‘s north coast
[Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

In Heracleion, the mission found the remains of a new section of an ancient settlement with a new part of the city’s main temple, which has been completely destroyed, remains of another smaller Greek temple, as well as ancient columns and pottery from the third and fourth centuries B.C.E, and bronze coins from the reign of King Ptolemy II.

A shipwreck of a 13 metres long sunken ship was also found lying on the sea-bed. Inside it was a collection of coins and pots. Studies and research will be done on the wreck to know more about it.

Author: Nevine El-Aref | Source: Ahram Online [July 25, 2019]

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