Archaeology officer stumbles upon petroglyphs at the prehistoric site while documenting rock art

Graffiti marks resembling Brahmi letters have been found among the Neolithic rock engravings on a rock on the Thovari hills near Ambalavayal in Wayanad district.

The new signs were discovered by K. Krishnaraj, Officer in Charge, Edakkal, Department of Archaeology, during a recent official visit to the prehistoric site in connection with documentation of the Thovari Rock art for the Public Relations Department recently.

Mr. Krishnaraj had reported a hitherto unknown site of a prehistoric rock art at Veliyambam near Pulpally in the district recently.

Notable epigraphist Dr. M.R. Raghava Varier, who had first reported on the petroglyphs of this Neolithic site in the Kerala Archaeological series, said that the newly-found graffiti look like the Brahmi letters ‘Ma, Re and Aa’ but, in all probabilities they were graffiti.

‘Dravidian graffiti’

According to Prof. Y. Subbarayalu, Director of the Indology department, French Institute, Puducherry, similar marks have been reported from various sites in Tamil Nadu .Hence, the newly discovered ‘Thovari signs’ belong to the same Dravidian graffiti tradition, he added.

The well-known rock art site, Edakkal, is situated on the western side of the site. According to Mr. Varier, the rock engravings at Thovari are similar to those in Edakkal caves in the style of drawing, though they are differ in subject matter.

Rich in megaliths

The whole area around Thovari is rich in megalithic monuments such as cist burials, urn burials and stone circles. The place has also yielded Neolithic polished stone axes. The artefacts seem to suggest human occupation in the area at least from the New stone age.

Though many petroglyphs — including geometrical signs, fertility symbol, arrows and star symbols — have been engraved on the rock shelter, locally called the ‘Ezhuthupara’ quite probably taking the engravings for letters, they are in a neglected state.

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