Accepted Paper:

The contribution of local geology and anthropogenic changes to the the taphonomy of palaeoart: a case study from central India  


Ruman Banerjee (University of Bristol)

Paper short abstract:

Short Abstract: This work aims to reveal the interrelationship of local geology, microclimate at the site introduced and altered by several anthropogenic activities and the present day conditioning of the pleistocene art that defines the taphonomy of the rock art on the weathered and relatively fresh Sandstone, distributed in several rock art clusters of Central India.

Paper long abstract:

Long Abstract: The rock art sites of central India is rich in its thematic content showing intricate patterning. The importance of local geology and environment, in other words the nature of sandstone, monsoon and drainage pattern play a crucial role in the alteration of rock surface and rock art overtime. Understanding the superimposition of colour, theme and style along with different techniques depicted in the Central Indian Rock Art Groups at different elevations become difficult when the taphonomy of rock art pose a serious challenge to the documentation and sampling activity for absolute dating. The rock art panels are sometimes exposed to direct sunlight, rain and flowing water. Moreover most of the sites are unprotected and within the easy access of the local people, who unknowingly disturb the archaeological context of the rock art sites by illegal digging and wine preparation in the vicinity of the sites. This alters the chemistry of the rock art and insitu nature of the sediment and archaeological deposit. Naturally the site becomes barren archaeologically leaving no scope for scientific excavation or AMS dating. Evidently what we see today in Indian rock art is by and large a remnant of the total dataset. The weathering of the sandstone is very high in some regions, that makes the recording of the motifs very difficult. We try to address these complicated relationships in the rock shelters of Central India and establish a constructive methodology to carry out further research work in the proposed region.

Panel S20
Going underground: caves, science and theory