MADURAI: Petroglyphs and cave paintings dating back to the Neolithic Age have been found atop Devankurichi hill near T Kallupatti by a group of archaeologists from Pandiyanadu Cultural Foundation.
Field Inspector D Muneeswaran led the study undertaken by the foundation, with the help of members, including Professor Lakshmanamoorthy, Aswathaaman, Ananthakumaran and Nagapandi. During the field study, cave paintings and petroglyphs that are believed to be over 3,000 years old were discovered by the archaeologists.
In the ancient days, T Kallupatti served as a trade route connecting South Tamil Nadu and Chera kingdom. "Atop the Devankurichi hill, a cave measuring 15 feet in length and four feet in width was found with an entrance. Inside the cave presently known as 'pondhu paarai', rock art drawn using white ink and petroglyphs on stone bed were found in ruins, thus indicating evidence of cavemen having lived on the hill. The cave was in a dilapidated state owing to the water flow through it, over the years," shared Muneeswaran.
While rock art drawn using natural red ink is much older than those drawn with white ink, the rock art found on the walls of the cave were hand-drawn using white ink that was prepared by mixing sap of dyer's oleander (veppaalai) tree with limestone paste, he added. The rock art found in the cave contained markings of hunting, an animal with a long neck and a lean man dancing, explained the field inspector.
Further, on the foot of the hill south-west, three stone beds that are five feet long and two feet wide could be found. Beside the stone bed, a small canal has been dug for rainwater to flow and an incomplete cave that is over 2,000 years old has been carved, Muneeswaran said. "On the foothill, five-feet-tall petroglyphs that were drawn using an iron chisel could also be spotted. To the left of the petroglyph, two images of a human figure with the head of an animal have been chiselled. Years later, the image of a dancing woman with side bun was also chiselled. In Tamil Nadu, such petroglyphs were earlier found in Krishnagiri, Perumukkal, Thandarampattu," he added.
Based on the findings of excavations conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1947, 1958 and 1976 at places 200 - 500 miles away from Devankurichi hillock, the period of petroglyphs and cave paintings were assessed as the Neolithic Age, with the help of veteran archaeologists like C Santhalingam, stated Muneeswaran.