Rock Art In India That Dates Back To 10,000 BC Believed To Be From A Lost And Unknown Prehistoric Civilization

Petroglyphs that have been found in India — which are believed to date all the way back to 10,000 BC — are thought to have been made by a lost and unknown civilization of people who once lived in the Konkan region of western Maharashtra.

While the vast majority of the rock art was discovered in the Ratnagiri and Rajapur regions of India, many of the petroglyphs have been lost to time for tens of thousands of years. As the BBC reports, this is mainly because most of the petroglyphs were disguised and buried beneath vast amounts of mud and soil, yet there were some that remained visible for all to see, and many local residents who lived near these rock carvings thought of them as sacred and holy.

The rock art itself is nothing if not varied, and the artists who created it took it upon themselves to carve a wide range of features into the rocks, including depictions of humans, birds, animals, and even geometrical designs. Because the petroglyphs are so similar with others that have been discovered in other regions of the world, scientists feel quite certain that they are prehistoric in origin, and believe the Indian ones may be some of the oldest that have ever been found anywhere.

Tejas Garge, an archaeologist from the Maharashtra state archaeology department, explained, “Our first deduction from examining these petroglyphs is that they were created around 10,000 BC.”

The discovery of these prehistoric petroglyphs was made by Sudhir Risbood and Manoj Marathe, who had noticed others that were not hidden, which prompted them to go out exploring to find more. Fortunately for the team, Risbood noted that those who lived locally were extremely helpful when it came to helping them find more of these rock carvings.

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“We walked thousands of kilometers. People started sending photographs to us and we even enlisted schools in our efforts to find them. We made students ask their grandparents and other village elders if they knew about any other engravings. This provided us with a lot of valuable information.”

There were actually so many petroglyphs that had been left behind that Marathe and Risbood discovered them in a total of 52 villages. However, only five of these had any knowledge of them beforehand. It is believed that this lost civilization in India had not yet turned to agriculture at this point in time, as many of the images show hunting scenes, yet not one was found to depict farming.

“We have not found any pictures of farming activities. But the images depict hunted animals and there’s detailing of animal forms. So this man knew about animals and sea creatures. That indicates he was dependent on hunting for food. Most of the petroglyphs show familiar animals. There are images of sharks and whales as well as amphibians like turtles.”

Because the discovery of this prehistoric rock art is such a profound historical discovery, India’s state government will be funding further exploration of the petroglyphs, and have already pledged $3.2 million for continued research.