The 'Pandeo Coolies', stone cyst graves near Chittoor
Watercolour copy, by an anonymous artist, of an original drawing by Thomas Fiotte de Havilland (1775-1866) of the 'Pandeo Coolies', stone cyst graves near Chitur in Tamil Nadu, dated 1817. The image is inscribed on the front in ink: 'View of the Pandeo Coolies at near Chittoor, 1817. Copied from an original Drawing by Major De Havilland, 1817.' De Havilland (1775-1866) was a Madras engineer officer from 1793 to 1825 and became the Civil Architect of Madras in 1819. Maria Graham mentions the graves in her 'Journal of a residence in India' (Edinburgh, 1812), "These bear an extraordinary resemblance to the Druidical vestiges in Europe, in Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland. They are composed of four or more upright stones, forming a chamber, which is sometimes divided , and is covered by a large flat stone. They are often surrounded by circles of smaller stones, and Colonel Mackenzie calls them Indian Cairns; for some of them are, in like manner, covered with tumuli, and in many he has found bones, ashes, vases, arms and even coins." Cists or Kistvaens are ancient graves or stone coffins found at various sites around the world. They usually consist of a square or rectangular area, which may contain either a skeleton or a burial urn, surrounded by either a mound of earth and a circle of stones, or four stones covered with a large flat rock roof.