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8 December 2009
Paleolithic cave painting found in Central India

A group of naturalists from Amravati districts (India) has discovered a set of 17 unique cave paintings in the Satpura range of Madhya Pradesh - which opens up new avenues of research as this art form are believed to be of Paleolithic period. The group has been working since the last six years on this project and include scientist Dr V.T. Ingole, wildlife writer P.S. Hirurkar, Padmakar Lad, Shirishkumar Patil, Dnyaneswar Damahe and Manohar Khode.
     The first cave with a rock painting was spotted in January 2007. "It is really unique and must be preserved," says Ingol. "We have so far found and surveyed 65 rock shelters and we found 17 cave paintings," Hirurkar said. "We expect that there could be more such paintings in the 20-km range of our current discovery," he said, adding: "We expect this to be 15,000 to 20,000 years old." All these are located in the Tapti valley. Talking about his discovery, Hirurkar draws parallel with the Bhimbetka rock shelters, which is a World Heritage Site. "In these paintings one can see images of different animals," said Ingole.
     The first cave which was visited is facing the north is in good condition and has more than 50 rock paintings comprising mainly of animal figures such as a herd of spotted deer, a herd of Samber, Rhinos, a group of wild dogs, bison, blue bull, tiger, and so on. The stags are painted very prominently with long antlers.
Many of the paintings are in red colour, perhaps made of red iron oxide. There are other paintings which are coloured in white mainly depicting human figures on horse with sword and other gears. Two smooth deep holes (mortar like) 10 cm diameter and 15 cm deep were also found near the cave. These holes might have been used to powder minerals used for paint.

Source: Sakaal Times (30 November 2009)

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