‘Discovery of rock paintings could lead to a bigger pre-historic site in Srikakulam’

Archaeological dept. team stumbles upon nine cave paintings which could be from period 15,000 to 10,000 years ago

August 06, 2022 07:55 am | Updated 07:55 am IST

Assistant Director S. Venkata Rao and his team inside the cave where prehistoric cave paintings were found in Jogula Metta Konda (hill) at Kondatemburu village in Srikakulam district.

Assistant Director S. Venkata Rao and his team inside the cave where prehistoric cave paintings were found in Jogula Metta Konda (hill) at Kondatemburu village in Srikakulam district. | Photo Credit: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The recent discovery of cave paintings in Jogula Metta Konda (hill) near Kondatemburu village in Nandigam mandal of Srikakulam district, by a team from the State Archaeology and Museums Department, could just be a sample for a bigger pre-historic site in that region.

Based on the inputs from a local history enthusiast Ramana Murthy, a team led by S. Venkata Rao, Assistant Director of the department, stumbled upon nine cave paintings, which according to them could date back to the Upper Palaeolithic age, which dates from 15,000 to 10,000 years and its influence creeping to the Mesolithic and Megalithic cultures.

Though the Upper Palaeolithic age varies from around 40,000 to 10,000 years, the paintings appear to be from 15,000 to 10,000 years period, Mr. Venkata Rao tells The Hindu.

The archaeologists say that the paintings are from the stone age, as they corroborate with the other evidence that was found at the foot of the hill and outside and inside the cave. “We have found some fragments of pottery, a rock-cut blade and megalithic ‘Cup Marks’ that were usually used as rituals during burials,” he says.

Similar cave paintings were found by the department at Thene Konda and Dimmidi Jwala in Savararampuram village in Nandigam mandal a few years ago, he adds.

Natural cave

The cave is located on the downslope of the Jogula Metta Konda overlooking the natural water tank. One has to crawl inside the cave, which is a natural one. Inside it is spacious and measures about 10/15 feet with a height of about 8 feet. Nine paintings depicting a peacock, boar, rhino, two monkeys, human figure, elephant, a baby elephant and a rabbit can be seen.

The dimensions of the paintings vary from 17 cm to 62 cm and were painted in red ochre colour.

According to Mr. Venkata Rao, the paintings indicate that during that period peacocks and rhinos were present in this part of the country. Explaining the linear drawings, he says they would have used animal fat, finely ground red clay and probably some natural juices extracted from leaves or tree barks.

The paintings are in good shape and the site needs to be protected for further exploration, as this could just be the first finding of a bigger prehistoric settlement in this region. “We have notified the District Collector and the Commissioner of the department to protect the site under the AP Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Remains Act of 1960, and also facilitate further exploration,” Mr. Venkata Rao says.

The other members of the team included K. Sreenivasa Rao, technical assistant and D. Visweswara Rao, archaeological assistant.

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