DHARMAPURI: Three teachers on an expedition to Silanaiyakkanur forest discovered a 4,000-year-old neolithic petroglyph of a bull engraved on the surface of a boulder. This has come as a surprise for archaeologists, who claim that finding petroglyphs in Tamil Nadu is a rarity.
Speaking to TNIE, archaeologist R Parthiban said, “Six months ago, three teachers -- A Anbalagan, D Thiruppathi and M Muruga -- found a painting on a boulder while exploring Silanaiyakkanur forest, which is 1.5 km away from Thallapallam village. Recently, it was identified to be a 4000-year-old petroglyph that had a few similarities with the one found in a neolithic settlement site at Bellary in Karnataka.”
Asked what he inferred from the discovery, the archaeologist said, “Finding petroglyphs in Tamil Nadu is a rarity. In this case, two bull images were identified -- on a hillside in Thallapallam and another engraved atop a boulder. This shows that the people, who lived in Thallapallam during the neolithic age, had used the lands for cattle grazing. The bull image also denotes the lands’ fertility. This petroglyph is a form of respect to the lands.” Stating that only a few petroglyphs have been discovered in the State, he said that the neolithic petroglyph was much like the megalithic structures -- 2,500 years old -- discovered at Snaganakallu-Kupgal, an ancient archaeological site in Karnataka.
“A few cists and cairn circles are also found near t petroglyph in Silanaiyakkanur. Further study in region will help gain more insight into the life of people 4,000 years ago, and the transition from neolithic to megalithic age,” he added.
What are they?
The oldest petroglyphs, also known as rock engravings, are from the pre-historic times (at least 10,000 years ago). They are images created by removing parts of a rock by incising, pecking, carving, and abrading According to some theories, petroglyphs are seen as a way of transmitting information; other theories ascribe them religious or ceremonial purpose