Ratnagiri’s pre-historic rock art

  • IASbaba
  • December 29, 2022
  • 0
History and Art and Culture
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Context: Experts and conservationists have raised concerns that the proposed mega oil refinery in Barsu village, Maharashtra, may damage nearby prehistoric geoglyphs.

About the art:

  • It is also known as Katal Shilpa locally in Ratnagiri.
  • These sites are protected by state archaeology department and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Ratnagiri-based non-profit organisation Nisarga Yatri Sanstha has been working for the last few years to find and preserve geoglyphs in the Konkan region.
  • It has more than 1500 petroglyphs.
  • Petroglyphs: It is an image drawn on rock surface using incising, picking, carving and abrading as rock art.
  • UNESCO dates these sites over 12,000 years old using carbon and geological dating.
  • UNESCO listing mentions “Konkan geoglyphs.”

About geoglyphs:

  • It is a form of prehistoric rock art.
  • It is carved on Laterite stone (Sada in Marathi).
  • It can be in the form of rock paintings, etchings, cup marks and ring marks.
  • India’s largest rock engraving or geoglyph is in Kasheli in the Ratnagiri district.
  • It has 18X13 metres large figure of an elephant.
  • Some of these clusters have one or two standalone figures of larger-than-life scale and others show multiple figures gathered together.

Significance of the rock art:

  • It is evidence of the continued existence of human settlements from the Mesolithic (middle stone age) to the early historic era.
  • It is amongst three potential sites to become world heritage sites.
  • The other two include Jingkieng Jri, the living root bridge in Meghalaya, and Sri Veerabhadra Temple in Andhra Pradesh’s Lepakshi.
  • It depicts how people adapted to wetlands in a dry-arid plateau having shallow rock pools, streams and watercourses.
  • Its clusters are examples of advanced artistic skills showing evolution of techniques of etching and scooping in rock art.
  • It has carvings of humans and animals such as deer, elephant, tiger, monkey, wild boar, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, cattle, pig, rabbit, and monkey.
  • It also includes a high number of reptilian and amphibian creatures such as tortoises and alligators, aquatic animals such as sharks and sting rays, and birds like peacocks.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Site of Ashoka’s major rock edicts          Location in the State of

  1. Dhauli Odisha
  2. Erragudi                                 Andhra Pradesh
  3. Jaugada Madhya Pradesh
  4. Kalsi Karnataka

How many pairs given above are correctly matched? (2022)

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Q.2) Consider the following pairs:

Historical place                Well-known for

  1. Burzahom                   Rock-cut shrines
  2. Chandraketugarh      Terracotta art
  3. Ganeshwar                   Copper  Artefacts

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched? (2021)

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3


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