A rock engraving, similar to a sign of the Indus Valley Civilisation, has been found at Edakkal in Wayanad district of Kerala. A recent exploration at the Edakkal Caves revealed a picture of a man with a jar, a unique sign of the Indus civilisation.

Tangible evidence

Engraved supposedly with a stone-axe in linear style, the sign has proven itself to be a tangible evidence to link it to the Indus culture. It was the first time that an Indus sign is discovered in Kerala.

“But we do not claim that the Indus people reached Wayanad; nor do we argue that Edakkal was a continuity of the Indus civilisation,” said historian M.R. Raghava Varier, who identified the sign during the exploration in August.

He said, “What is striking in the Edakkal sign is the presence of an Indus motif, which has been rare and interesting.”

Man-with-the-jar has been a recurring motif of the Indus Valley signs. Though it uses the Indus motif, the Edakkal engraving has retained its unique style. With linear strokes, the engraver has tried to attain a two-dimensional human figure.

“The ‘jar’ is the same as in Indus ‘ligature.’ But the human figure is slightly different. This is where the influence of the Edakkal style predominates,” said Dr. Varier.

Unique

Though rock art sites are plenty in different continents, the rock engravings at the Edakkal Caves are unique in the world. The Indus Civilisation has been dated between 2,300 BC and 1,700 BC. The Edakkal culture, however, is yet to be identified with any particular time.

Historians say Edakkal represents quite a long period. The figures of ritualistic nature found at Edakkal represent different stages of human development, both historic and pre-historic. “But this one is definitely pre-historic,” Dr. Varier said.