Ancient rock art found in remote Tamil Nadu hamlet

A chance visit to a remote Pudukkottai hamlet to assess the damage caused by illegal granite quarrying on an ancient protected' archaeological site helped an Archaeological Survey of India team uncover what could be evidence of the first artistic expression of prehistoric man in this region.

The cup marks' or cupules, the oldest surviving rock art, similar to those showcased in the UNESCO world heritage sites of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh, were found in a
cave in a hillock in the remote Malayadipatti village, 35 km north of Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu.

Archaeological experts believe that these marks could date back to the Mesolithic culture, which ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.

"After Bhimbetka and Dhariki Chattan (Madhya Pradesh) and Hunsgi in Karnataka, the Pudukkottai cupules is an exciting find. We can confirm they are petroglyphs by
stylistic comparison with our earlier findings," said Dr Adiga Sundara, a Mysore-based retired professor in ancient Indian history and epigraphy.

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