AS INDIA celebrates its 150th year of Rock Art, city archaeologists are planning to introduce an advanced studies programme, dedicated to understanding the underlying symbolic and behavioural messages in prehistoric rock art.
To mark the anniversary, the Deccan College, in association with the State Directorate of Archaeology, will be hosting the 22nd International Congress, titled ‘Rock Art discipline in Indian Ocean rim countries’.
As many as 50 participants, from India, South Korea, Australia, and a few nations from the African continent, will be part of the three-day conference at Deccan College, starting from October 26.
The art form was first discovered and recognised near Sohagighat, in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh in 1867.
Kantikumar Pawar, assistant professor of Behavioural Archaeology and conference co-ordinator at Deccan College, said, “Numerous rock art discoveries were made during the period. India has always been at the forefront in deciphering prehistoric rock art.”
Most of the works studied today date back to the Paleolithic Era, he added.
Pawar said, “Since these works mostly depicted the concurrent lifestyle, culture, dance forms and rituals practiced among the communities in the prehistoric era, very little was understood about the other aspects. In the future, work will mainly focus on understanding the symbolic and behavioural aspects of human evolution from such art forms.”
Excavated from mountains and archaeologically-preserved structures, the need for better conservation is increasingly being felt, as majority of the art works was lying in deplorable conditions at the time of excavation.
“A majority of the works were done using natural colours, which, with time, have either worn out or faded. This has made it extremely challenging to undertake accurate dating processes,” he added.