It is amazing how we are still uncovering signs of early civilizations going back tens of thousands of years, forcing us to rethink the span of organized and sophisticated human society. From the BBC:
The sheer variety of the rock carvings have stunned experts — animals, birds, human figures and geometrical designs are all depicted.
The way the petroglyphs have been drawn, and their similarity to those found in other parts of the world, have led experts to believe that they were created in prehistoric times and are possibly among the oldest ever discovered.
“Our first deduction from examining these petroglyphs is that they were created around 10,000BC,” the director of the Maharashtra state archaeology department, Tejas Garge, told the BBC.
The credit for their discovery goes to a group of explorers led by Sudhir Risbood and Manoj Marathe, who began searching for the images in earnest after observing a few in the area. Many were found in village temples and played a part in local folklore.
“We walked thousands of kilometres. People started sending photographs to us and we even enlisted schools in our efforts to find them. We made students ask their grandparents and other village elders if they knew about any other engravings. This provided us with a lot of valuable information,” Mr Risbood told the BBC.
Although these mysterious people were likely hunter-gatherers–there are no depictions of farming or other agricultural activities–their ability to conceptualize art and abstract shapes is still quite impressive for the time period.
Even more fascinating are those depictions of animals not known to have ever existed in the region:
Most of the petroglyphs show familiar animals. There are images of sharks and whales as well as amphibians like turtles,” Mr Garge adds.
But this begs the question of why some of the petroglyphs depict animals like hippos and rhinoceroses which aren’t found in this part of India. Did the people who created them migrate to India from Africa? Or were these animals once found in India?
The state government has set aside a fund of 240 million rupees ($3.2m; £2.5m) to further study 400 of the identified petroglyphs.
It is hoped that some of these questions will eventually be answered.
I hope so as well! I look forward to following up on this!