Rock Art of India - Suitable Dating Techniques

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About the Book Rock art is a vital archaeological source to study and analyse the cognitive evolution of the human intellect across the world. The importance of rock art and its dating has long been a key issue of rock-art research and continues to be attended by difficulties about methodology, misinterpretation of findings and overconfidence in the reliability or precision of result. Most of the rock – art in their investigations for rock-art dating as present has been to est...

About the Book

Rock art is a vital archaeological source to study and analyse the cognitive evolution of the human intellect across the world. The importance of rock art and its dating has long been a key issue of rock-art research and continues to be attended by difficulties about methodology, misinterpretation of findings and overconfidence in the reliability or precision of result. Most of the rock – art in their investigations for rock-art dating as present has been to establish chronologies of different rock – art sites.

The present volume mainly emphasis on long due and much discussed issues like that of what will be the suitable dating techniques for Indian rock art. Some of the topics in the volume cover different dating methods such as the minimum dating by archaeological excavation, radio- carbon analyses of mineral accretions or their inclusions , radiocarbon analyses of paint residues inclusion, geomorphological method , minimum or maximum ages derived from biological accretions , lichenometry, clorimetry of patina, radiocarbon analyses of charcoal and beeswax figures, and any other methods of ‘direct’ dating of rock art. This volume includes not only new insight but also new dating results. The data and interpretations put forward by various scholars are comprehensive and analytical. Most of their views are appropriate and hold promise in terms of recent trends in dating rock art.

About the Author

Dr B. L. Malla, an art historian , is associated with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) , New Delhi . Dr. Malla’s specializations is in Indian art and cultural studies. His area of interest is both classical and vernacular traditions. He has been associated with the IGNCA – UNESCO – UNDP project on “ village India Identification and Enhancement of India’s Cultural Heritage”. Currently , Dr. Malla is engaged in the survey, documentation and study of Indian rock art along with Himalayan studies.

Dr Malla has widely travelled and authored a number of books and edited volumes including the sculptures of Kashmir; Vaisnava Art and Iconography of Kashmir; Trees in Indian art Mythology and Folklore ; Conservation of rock Art (ed.) ; Global Rock Art (ed.); The world of rock Art: An Overview of five Continents (ed.); Rock art of Andhra Pradesh: A new synthesis by N. Chandramouli (gen. ed.) ; Rock At Studies: Concept Methodology , Context, Documentation and conservation, Vol. I (ed.); Rock Art Studies ; Interpretation through Multidisciplinary Approaches Vol. II (ed.); Cosmology and Cosmic Manifestation: Shaiva Thought and Art of Kashmir and a number of search articles published in nationals and Internationals journals .

Foreword

Rock Art is one of our greatest surviving art treasures. It is a vital archaeological source to study and analyses the cognitive evolution of the human intellect across the world. As the written word had not yet been conceived, the urge to articulate, document and preserve ideas and events found expression through pictorial representations. The intrinsic efficacy of rock art lies in its universality of appeal and the capacity to endure and sustain itself in a manner Whereby all can discern it. The Discovery of the Bhimbetka group of rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh by Dr V. S. Wakankar in 1957 can be considered the most momentous event in the history of rock – art studies in India on a subcontinental scale. It paved the way for the growth of interest among scholars and laymen about the importance of the world., attracting scholars from all parts of the globe.

The Indira Gandhi national Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) has conceived a major academic programme which relates to exploring artists manifestations from man’s primary sense perceptions . Rock art forms its crucial component. IGNCA is one f the Few institutions in Indira to have undertaken substantial and significant interdisciplinary documentations and research studies in the field of rock art. The present volume suitable Dating Techniques for Indian Rock art is an outcome of the workshop held on 25-16 february 2014 by the Centre on this important and pressing subject. This Volume will be the twelfth Publication under he rock art series.

The Dating of rock art has long been a key issue of rock art search and continues to be attended by difficulties about methodology, Misinterpretation of findings and overconfidence in the reliability or precisions of result. In this volume , it is intended to include not only new insights but also new dating result. The data and interpretations put forward by various scholars are Comprehensive and analytical. Most of their views are appropriate and hold good promise in terms of recent trends in dating rock art.

I congratulate Dr Bansi Lal Malla , Project Director and the editor for his tireless efforts, in bringing out this important volume . I trust this publication will achieve the objective of promoting the recent rends in rock – art dating and will also help scholars to explore the possibilities for developing suitable dating techniques for Indian Rock art.

Introduction

The Present volume Suitable Dating Techniques for Indian rock art is the outcome of a workshop held on the same subject by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi on 25-26 February 2014. The workshop was inaugurated by Dr. Subas Pani, Trustee, IGNCA, who was the chief guest. On this occasion, he also rereleased the Proceedings of the International Conference of Rock Art 2012 brought out in two volumes, i.e. Rock Art Studies (vols. I, II). These volumes contain selected articles representing rock art form all over the world. The first Volume comprises Papers related to the Concept, Methodology, context, documentation and conservation of rock art. The second volume includes papers to the interpretation of rock art. The main focus of these publication is on the recent developments in rock art research , documentation and preservation.

Some Senior Scholars from different parts of India participated in the two –days workshop like A. Sundara and Ravi Korisettar (Karnataka) , N. Chandramouli ( Pondichery), G.L. Badam and Kanti Pawar ( Maharashtra) , Somnath Chakraverty (west Bengal) CM. Nautiyal (Uttar Pradesh , R.C. Agrawal and K.K. Chakraverty (Delhi) and discussed the problems and challenges related to dating of Indian rock art at length.

Students from the Institute of Archaeology, Archaeological Survey of India and national Museum Institute attended the workshop and raised some of their concerns on the dating of rock art in India. Their active participation in the workshop was a good sign for this emerging discipline . The participation of many renowned scholars as well as students enriched the deliberations and helped in working out the basic approach/ planning for a dating rock arts sites in india.

Rock art is one of our greatest surviving art treasures. It possesses the largest body of evidence of artistic , connive and cultural beginnings of humans . The intrinsic efficacy of rock art lies in its universality of appeal and its capacity to endure and sustain itself in a manner which can be discerned by all. Many international conferences have been held earlier in different countries on the global general subject of rock art, but very few on a specific theme within the global context. In India, IGNCA organized a Global Rock Art Conference in 1993. In this conference the main stream of discussion followed seminal issues like “ university” and “ Chronology” . Others problems highlighted were those of conservation and preservation of rock art sites, safeguard of the natural environment and protections of the rights of indigenous peoples inhabiting in the proximity of rock are sites.

Subsequently, an Expert Meeting on the “conservation, Preservation and management of rock Art” was organized by IGNCA in 1996. IGNCA organized another important and well –received International Conference on Rock Art in 2012. The Present workshop mainly focused on the possible approaches to “suitable Dating Techniques for Indian Rock art “ which is both topical and significant . Some of the topics which were deliberated in the workshop included the minimum dating by archaeological excavation, radiocarbon analyses of mineral accretions, lichenometry, colorimetry of patinae, radiocarbon analyses of charcoal and beeswax figures , and others methods of “direct’’ dating of rock art.

At present, the main focus of investigation of most rock art researches has been to established chronologies of different rock art researches has been to establish chronologies of different rock art sites, based on pigment analysis to direct dating to stylistic features. While dating rock art , it has been related to stratigraphy. The Style also has been used as a formal denominator. As the comparable context too have a rather imprecise dating , the precise age is very difficult to identify.

However, the relative age is often easier to reach. Moreover, a detailed chronology seems impossible to construct. An endeavour has been made by some scholars to approach rock art with a view to reconstruct the lifestyle and environment of the people who created this art form. While agreeing that chronology is crucial for rock art, it was admitted that no absolute dating or definite chronological order had been established order had been established as yet. Some scholars advocate reassessing the acceptance of chronology as the sole criterion of rock dating in this field.

Some of the important recommendations made at the end of the workshop included:

1. Rock art should be studied in relation to the environment and archaeological background of the study area.

2. Geographical zones of rock art should be recognized to understand the spatial distribution of rock art sites.

3. Rock art sites should be listed out and the rock art of each zone therein should be classified on thematic grounds from individual sites.

4. Relative chronological sequence should be reconstructed and with the corroborative scientific dates, each site should be given a time range.

5. Use of biological data in the appreciation of rock art chronology as an aid towards the dating techniques.

6. For employing the latest scientific techniques in the dating of rock art, typesites should be identified from different parts of the country. Lists of such identified sites should be prepared by scholars working in their respective regions.

7. While collecting samples from these sites for dating purposes , C.M. Nautiyal, Birbal Sahini Institute of palaeobotany, Lucknow should be a part of the team so that the samples are collected properly and the chances f Contamination can be avoided.

8. Those sites which are unprotected should be considered for a sampling purposes to avoid legal problems.

Contents

  Foreword v
  Acknowledgement ix
  List of Illustrations and tables xi
1. Introduction - Bansi Lal Malla 1
2. Relativity of the Absolute: Dating Indian Rock art - N. Chandramouli 9
3. Recent Advances in Dating Rock Art of Prehistoric Southern India - Ravi Korisettar 45
4. Suitable Method for Dating Indian Rock Art: Pictures analyis and their Distribution - A Sundara 57
5. Principles of a New Proposed pigment Trace Element Method for Dating Indian Rock art - Somnath Chakraverty 91
6. Dating of Artists Depictions in Rock Shelters: some Issues - R. C. Agrawal 107
7. Relatives and Absolute Dating of Indian Rock Art: withh References to the Recent Findings in Central India - Kantikumar A. Pawar and Shaik Saleem 113
8. Suitable Dating Techniques for Indian Rock Art - G. L. Badam 143
9. Absolute Datings of a time marker from the satpuras: An Appraisal though Uranium Series for Central Indian Rock art - Ruman Banerjee and somnath Chakraverty 173
10. The Quantitative Datings of the Rock art - C. M. Nautiyal 203
11. Some Key Aspects of rock Art Dating - Bansi lal Malla 219
  List of Contributors 225
  Index 227

 

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Item Code: NAM946 Author: Bansi Lal Malla Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2016 Publisher: Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts and D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 9788124608517 Language: English Size: 11.5 inch X 9.0 inch Pages: 244 (72 Color and 42 B/W Illustraions) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.3 kg
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