Neolithic Evidence from Molapalayam, Noyyal River Valley Coimbatore District, Western Tamil Nadu

V. Selvakumar1, G.S. Abhayan2, Veena Muzhrif-Tripathy3, Sathish S. Naik3, S. Gowrishankar1, R. Kathikeyan1, Don Wesley1, A. Sankar1, Bhavani Jagadesan4

1Department of Maritime History and Marine Archaeology, Tamil University, India

2Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala, India

3Department of Archaeology, Deccan College, India

4Independent Researcher, India

Cultural evidence for Neolithic occupation had been lacking in Tamil Nadu, south of Dharmapuri and Vellore Region of India. Recent excavation conducted in August 2021 at Molapalayam in the Noyyal river valley has gone someway to redressing this absence of Neolithic evidence. The archaeological site at Molapalayam is enclosed by hillocks in an ideal location for a Neolithic settlement. The site has a single culture and has produced two radiocarbon dates suggesting occupation between 1600 and 1300 BCE. The investigators recovered a variety of material culture and biological remains including ceramics, polished stone axes, lithic artifacts, human burials, and animal bones. In this paper, we discuss the significance of identifying a Neolithic settlement and burial ground at Molapalayam and provide details on the most important outcomes of the research project so far.