Andhra Pradesh

Andhra unveils second largest rock art trove

The petroglyph found at Mekala Benchi in Kurnool district by YVU archaeologist Yadava Raghu.

The petroglyph found at Mekala Benchi in Kurnool district by YVU archaeologist Yadava Raghu.  

Petroglyphs suggest a link between Neolithic pastoralists and the present day ‘Gollas’

Andhra Pradesh’s second largest petroglyph site, containing about 80 petroglyhs, has been discovered at Mekala Benchi, a spot near Aspari town, north of the Kurnool-Ballari highway in Kurnool district. These petroglyphs, or rock carvings, underscore Kurnool’s importance as a major site of Neolithic settlements in south India.

Kandanathi, with 200 petroglyphs, is also in Kurnool district. While Mekala Benchi has petroglyphs dating back from the Neolithic to the Megalithic period, Kandanathi carvings range from the prehistoric to the historic period.

The petroglyphs were recently discovered by Yadava Raghu, an archaeologist working as an academic consultant with Yogi Vemana University’s Department of History and Archeology. Two boulders, one known locally as ‘Boodida Konda’ (ash-coloured hill) and the other an unnamed granite hillock, mostly have images of bulls or bull-riding, in addition to human figures, an elephant, tiger-like animals and cupules.

Interestingly, the present day native bulls of western Kurnool district are known for their ‘long horns’, as depicted in the petroglyphs. “Settled village life and the finished stone axe are salient features of the Neolithic age. Neolithic communities settled on top of granitoid hills or levelled terraces on hillsides or on valley floors. The current archeological site, at the granite foothills of Boodida Konda, fits the description of a Neolithic settlement,” Mr Raghu told The Hindu. During his visit to the site on December 16, the researcher also collected various types of stone tools potsherds dating back to the Neolithic period (2900 BCE-1000 BCE).

Neoliths, or polished stone axes, were found aplenty. Dr. Raghu found a polished and finished triangular axe, two normally finished axes, a broken axe, rubbing stone, and potsherds. “Neolithic people were the early pastoral community. The present day Gollas and Kurubas (grazing communities), who are predominant in this region, are the living examples of the first pastoralists”, he explains. Incidentally, the Gollas also use beautifully finished axes made of iron, which look very similar to the fine polished stone axes of the Neolithic era.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 4:17:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/aps-second-largest-treasury-of-rock-art-in-kurnool/article25913937.ece

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