Archaeologists discover 12,000-yr-old rock paintings in Betul


The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered pre-historic caves with rock paintings dating back to 12,000 years on the Satpura mountain range near Betul on the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border.

A team of archaeologists, carrying out explorations on the Satpura ranges in Gawilgarh Hills in the border township of the Tapti-Purna valley stumbled on these ancient paintings, dispelling the myth that Vidarbha and its neighbouring region is bereft of such artistic treasures from our past.

About 71 new rock shelters harbouring paintings and engravings have been found at the site, which may give a tough competition to the World Heritage site of Bhimbetka near Bhopal, ASI officials said.

The decorated rock shelters were discovered by a joint team of ASI's Nagpur-based Pre-history and Excavation Branch-I during the ongoing exploration and documentation work in remote parts of Satpura range.

Besides, the ASI team camping at village Chincholi Gawli, about 25 kilometres from Morshi in Amravati district (Vidarbha region) has also discovered more than 200 un-decorated rock shelters.

Since last week of December 2012, the team has so far discovered 89 rock shelters.

"The assiduous work done by team members amidst arduous terrains has led to fascinating discoveries," Nandini Bhattacharya Sahu, Superintendent Archaeologist, Prehistory Branch, (Nagpur) and leader of the exploration team told PTI.

She said the rock shelters carry decorations on walls, ceilings and floors.

Decors comprise petroglyph's in various forms, such as engravings, bruising, pecking and pictographs in various colours, viz red, various shades of red, white, black and green. The pictographs or paintings usually illustrate human, animal, bird, tree and abstract geometric figures and are depicted by stick figures, outlines, solid and X-ray figures. he engravings usually exhibit elements of natural world as well as abstract themes. The decorated shelters are spread in an area of approximately 40 square kilometres, Sahu said.

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