Ancient Culture History Prelims cum Mains

Pandavas, prehistoric man or aliens – who carved these rocks?

Context

  • History and nature enthusiasts have found 10 new sites of Neolithic petroglyphs (rock carvings) in Maharashtra’s, Ratnagiri and Rajapur districts.

 

Highlights

  • The Maharashtra’s Konkan area of Rastnagiri and Rajapur is already known as petroglyph paradise in the region.
  • The petroglyphs were found in Salegaon, Upale and Devache Gothane villages in Maharashtra.
  • With their discovery, the state’s petroglyph tally has risen to 13 from the three previously known ones.
  • However there is no clear evidence about the time it belonged to. While the archeologists attribute them to a prehistoric civilization, folklores attribute these structures to pandavas.

 

 

 

Significance

  • Magnetic anomaly
    • The petroglyphs found on the laterite rocks have found to exhibit magnetic anomaly with the compass showing reverse polarity.
    • Nowhere in the world have the lateritic rocks shown magnetic anomaly.
  • Pre-Historic
    • While the age of such petroglyphs is normally determined by carbon dating, there is no trace of carbon in these rocks as a result of erosion.
    • Thus, it is difficult to determine the age of these rocks and hence the experts propose that these are pre-historic.
  • Early civilization in the Neolithic era
    • The petroglyphs on these prehistoric rocks reveal that there was some form of civilization in the prehistoric period.
    • The petropglyphs feature images of the sun, human figures, animals both native and non-natives like the extinct elephant bird and the rhino.
    • One of the rock carvings depicts the drawing of Lajja Gauri, the fertility goddess who is a symbol of matriarchal society.
    • The subjects on the petroglyphs hint that the rock carvings belong to a civilization of the Neolithic era (about 8000 BC).

 

What are petroglyphs? How old are they?

  • While pictographs are painting and drawings on the rock walls, Petroglyphs are images carved into rock.
  • Bhimbetka is the oldest known cave in India which is about 1,00,000 years old.
  • The pictographs of Bhimbetka is about 30000 years old.
  • The laterite rocks in the Konkan region are about 10000 years old.
  • Thus it can be concluded that the petroglyphs found are mostly from Neolithic age. Neolithic age (about 8000 BC) is a stone age after Paleolithic period and precedes Bronze age civilizations. (About 5500BC)

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