A significant discovery of a structure of boulders arranged in the form of a tortoise was found in an elevated region near a lake in a place called Vadamangalam near Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. The significance of this discovery is that it was dated at 1000 BCE.
The researchers are of the opinion that this could have been a memorial for the deceased "to honour the dead". But they could not find any human remains. In fact what they found was a 35 metres long and 20 metres wide structure in the shape of a tortoise. But what they explain for the shell part of the tortoise can have a different application.
They think that it was like a sarcophagus but also admit that the structure with its surrounding slabs look like a Vedic altar. They found another smaller structure like this inside which an earthen pot with a chisel was found. Some pots in this region had grains and one had some liquid. Their contention is that it was some primitive tribal people having the knowledge of astronomy. This shows that the researchers are under the influence of Western thought and Stonehenges and not tuned to Hindu practices that are continuing from an undated past.
I wish to bring to the notice of the readers and scholars that all these do offer proof for the continuing Vedic culture in this part of the country besides authenticating the information from the Tamil texts connected to this place.
First of all this is not a memorial. A tortoise is always associated with Kurma avatara and not burials. Kurma is one of the early avataras of Vishnu which is nothing but a symbolism for the way the earth is held stable. In the Kurma avatara Vishnu is seen as the basic support in the form of a giant tortoise upon which the mountain of Meru was churned. The churning is nothing but the rotation of the earth in its axis due to which the subterranean material is churned and expelled. When that happens on the land, earthquake occurs. So the worship of Kurma is intended to pray that the land on which we reside does not disturb us. This rationale still continues in Kathmandu, where one can find pillars erected on a base having the form of a tortoise. (pic below)
Our land of Bharat itself was thought to have been supported by Kurma. A separate chapter on Kurma chakra has been given by Varahamihira in Brihad samhita showing us that until 2000 years ago, the people held this belief and also showed it in their life where possible. The division of the land was as shown in the picture below.