Expert panel moots steps to conserve Edakkal petroglyphs

The first meeting of the nine-member expert committee constituted for the conservation, preservation and management of Edakkal rock shelters has mooted steps to conserve the precious petroglyphs on them.

The number of visitors to the neolithic monument has been restricted to 1,920 per day day but such a decision was made without conducting any carrying capacity studies of the site, notable historian M.R. Raghava Varier told The Hindu . “So we suggested that a specific carrying capacity study be conducted considering the rate of weathering and moss development on the walls that may be accelerated by inhalation and exhalation,” Dr. Varier , who is also the chairman of the committee, said.

The meet suggested organising awareness programmes for the public to sensitise them to the historical and cultural significance of the centuries-old monument and the need to conserve it.

It mooted petrographic studies of the rocks on which the engravings are made; the rock that form the Edakkal rock shelter; the withered materials and the major rocks that support the shelter complex.

A geographical study on the inside of the shelters and immediate surroundings was also suggested to know which rocks are disjointed boulders and which are protrusions of the parent rock. A quantification of the weathering rates of the rocks will have to be studied.

It also suggested to set up an automated weather station outside the upper shelter; temperature, humidity, and pressure monitoring instrumentation inside the shelters; seismometers in both the shelters to continuously monitor tremors and background vibrations; setting up continuous Lidar monitoring, also called 3-D laser scanning, of the major rocks and fractures in both shelters and the pathway; and continuous CCTV monitoring of the shelters and the pathway. The panel suggested setting up of an interpretation centre with the images of the petroglyphs and trained staff at the downhill to explain the details of each petroglyph.

Dr. Varier said the final recommendations of the committee would be submitted to the government by the end of March.

Two experts could not attend the meet owing to COVID-19 restrictions.

Other members of the committee, including G. Sankar, former scientist of the Centre for Earth Sciences Studies; Professor K.P. Sudheer, Ex Officio Principal Secretary, Science, and Technology department; Dr.V. Selvakumar, Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu University, Tanjavur; Dr. Sekhar Kuriakose, member secretary, Disaster Management; E. Dinesan, Director, Department of Archaeology and S.Jaikumar, Conservation officer, Department of Archaeology attended the meet.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 12:29:08 pm |