A group of caves inhabited by ancient humans has been discovered in Akkampalli near Kurnool district’s Sanjamala.
The site, found by researcher K. Ramakrishna Reddy a few months ago, is thought to be contemporary to the existing rock sites at Ketavaram and Chintakunta near Kadapa district’s Muddanur.
The discovery is archaeologically significant as the caves contain artwork that depicts the state of civilisation and culture 7,000 years ago.
The site comprises five caves — three natural and two rock-cut — the etchings on whose walls throw a great deal of light on the life, culture, traits and beliefs of the era.Crocodile images
In one of the caves, near-life-size figures of crocodiles are prominently drawn in red ochre. The animal has been depicted with minute details such as nails, scales, legs and its strong jaw.
Given the dozens of images of crocodiles at the site, it is inferable that the area was infested with crocodiles although there are no water bodies there at present.
The site is known as ‘musalla gundu (boulder of crocodile)’. One of the caves has been converted into a Shiva shrine referred to as Nainalappa gudi or Vibhuthipandla guha.
The site is yet to make an entry into the standard literature or archaeological records. Mr. Reddy recently toured the site and presented a paper as part of his doctoral thesis.Vandalism threat
Mr. Reddy told The Hindu that the ancient treasure faced a serious vandalism threat — many paintings have been disfigured by graffiti and inscriptions of visitors’ names.
He stresses that the preservation of the site, which has survived the vagaries of nature over thousands of years, was more important than its study.