First page Back Continue Last page Overview Graphics

In India rock paintings are documented in many rock shelters (Fig. 2) and a lot of research has been conducted by excavating the habitation areas of these shelters and studying in detail their rock art. However, the best known shelters are the ones located in Madhya Pradesh (Figs. 3, 4) where the rock art sequence starts from the Mesolithic and continues though the Chalcolithic and the Historic periods. Apart from the style of paintings which changes through chronological sequences, there are various determining factors which help in reconstructing the social, technological and ideological contexts of the rock art. In recent years, apart from the traditional studies, emphasis has been laid on dating the pigments used in rock paintings (by AMS dating techniques, facilities for which have just been initiated in India), and on studies of taphonomy and rates of weathering of the rock art including the engravings. Wherever occupation sites are associated with rock art, relationship between prehistoric art and other material evidence is being worked out. A great deal of work has also been conducted on the ecological aspects of the sites based on the faunal materials, whether in the form of paintings or the osteological remains from excavations, if any, and also on the resources exploited by inhabitants. Ideas about restoration and conservation techniques and the management of rock art have received a lot of attention from the Institutions and Government agencies. It is, therefore, encouraging to find several scholars of various specialities in India and abroad getting interested in this vast and challenging field which provides evidence of lively creatures bearing a history of the past. In this context, the Rock Art Society of India is doing commendable work touching upon various aspects of this research, by holding meetings, workshops, seminars and by excavating sites and publishing results from time to time.