Photojournalist D Ravinder Reddy and rock art expert Dr Muralidhar Reddy have recently made a significant archaeological discovery in Peddapalli district. Mesolithic era rock paintings were found at Sitamma Loddi, Gattusingaram, providing valuable insights into the ancient history of the region.
Location and Features:
The rock paintings were discovered on a hillock deep within the forest, adorning the walls of a large sandstone rock shelter. This shelter, measuring 1,000 feet long and 50 feet high, is part of a site known as Sitamma Loddi. Sitamma Loddi is recognized as the second-longest rock shelter in India and consists of seven shelters in total, including the one with the newfound paintings.
Historical Periods Represented:
The paintings discovered at Sitamma Loddi span two distinct historical periods – Mesolithic (10,000-12,000 years ago) and early historic (1st BCE to 6th CE). The findings are considered crucial from an archaeological perspective, as they offer a glimpse into the life and culture of the people who inhabited the region during these times.
Characteristics of the Paintings:
The dominant colors of the paintings are red, with additional white and yellow hues. The depictions include human figures engaging in group dances, arranged in both row and round patterns. Noteworthy details include the depiction of men and women holding hands, wearing distinctive footwear above the ankle, individuals with bows and arrows, and various animals such as deer, antelope, tortoise, jungle cat, carnivores, monkeys, wild lizards, and footprints.
Unique Petroglyphs and Handprints:
Among the significant findings are petroglyphs featuring deer figures and white-colored deer, along with rows of human figures. The paintings also showcase numerous handprints in full red color, some outlined, and rare white and yellow-colored handprints. These unique features contribute to the exceptional nature of the discovery.
Fossilized Stone with Shell:
Another noteworthy discovery is a fossilized stone embedded with a shell, dating the site to be approximately 65 million years old. This finding adds to the archaeological richness of the site, making it a remarkable repository of ancient rock paintings.
In the context of Telangana, the Sitamma Loddi site is deemed as a diamond mine of rock paintings, comparable to the significance of Pandavulagutta in Jaishankar-Bupalapally district.
Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) with Answers:
- Where were the Mesolithic era rock paintings discovered?
a. Jaishankar-Bupalapally district
b. Peddapalli district
c. Gattusingaram district
d. Sitamma Loddi district
Answer: b. Peddapalli district
- What is the primary color dominating the discovered rock paintings?
Answer: b. Red
- What is the historical period covered by the rock paintings at Sitamma Loddi?
a. Neolithic era
b. Mesolithic era
c. Paleolithic era
d. Iron Age
Answer: b. Mesolithic era
- What is the age of the fossilized stone found at the site?
a. 10,000-12,000 years
b. 1st BCE to 6th CE
c. 65 million years
d. 50 feet high
Answer: c. 65 million years
- How is Sitamma Loddi recognized in India?
a. Longest rock shelter in India
b. Second-longest rock shelter in India
c. Largest archaeological site in India
d. Oldest settlement in India
Answer: b. Second-longest rock shelter in India