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Rock art site discovered in Kerala

Known for its rich archaeological heritage, the Periyar downstream has opened up another window to the past.

Rock art site discovered in Kerala
The rock art site at Ezhuthala cave on Vellaramkunnu
 in Pooyamkutty forest [Credit: The Hindu]
In a major finding, a group of young archaeology enthusiasts from Jayakeralam Higher Secondary School in Pulluvazhy, Perumbavoor, has discovered a new rock art site inside the Pooyamkutty forests on the outskirts of Ernakulam district. During a field trip about two months ago, the six-member student group led by faculty member V. Sanal Kumar spotted the rock art site inside the Ezhuthala cave on Vellaramkunnu, located about 20 kilometres south west of Kothamangalam town.

Rock engravings

According to Mr. Kumar, the petroglyphs (rock engravings) bear a close resemblance to those on the walls of the Edakkal caves in Wayanad district. The primitive rock art, which consists of geometrical squares and triangles that relate to the form of sun and star, has been found engraved on a huge chunk of rock inside the nine-metre-long cave.

“Alphabets of what appear to be the ancient Tamil Brahmi language have been inscribed above these engravings in seven lines and at a length of 3.90 metres using a sharp tool,” said Mr. Kumar. “Besides, several microliths and capsules belonging to the Mesolithic period have also been recovered from the site,” he said.

Mr. Kumar highlighted the need to conserve the heritage site, mired in neglect and ruin. “The cave is being used as a shelter by people during the bamboo reed harvest season for several years now and this has led to destructive human interventions,” Mr. Kumar added.

Commenting on the new finding, historian M.R. Raghava Varrier, who has undertaken a comprehensive study on petroglyphs, said he would be visiting the area later this month. “A detailed examination of the site will be required to identify the drawings,” he said.

The finding comes even as the Kerala Council for Historical Research is embarking on an extensive survey to catalogue the archaeological objects found in the Periyar river basin.

The study is aimed at shedding more light on the short-distance trade connections of Pattanam and the transformation of these Iron Age settlements into a culture of trading.

Author: Hiran Unnikrishnan | Source: The Hindu [February 15, 2016]

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