India's Anonymous Artists

Digs & Discoveries January/February 2019

(Courtesy Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra, India)

In the coastal Konkan region of India’s western state of Maharashtra, around 1,000 petroglyphs have been discovered spread out over dozens of different sites. Nearly all of them are found on hilltops. In a few cases, local people were aware of the designs, but most were previously unknown—and many were hidden beneath a layer of earth. The carvings depict a wide range of subjects, including elephants, monkeys, peacocks, sharks, and alligators, as well as human figures and geometric patterns. According to Tejas Garge, director of the Maharashtra state archaeology department, the drawings were probably created between 12,000 and 5,000 years ago. Little is known of their creators, however, as no associated settlement sites have been found. Given that the carvings don’t depict domesticated animals and agricultural activities, says Garge, the people who made them were likely hunter-gatherers.

  • Artifacts January/February 2019

    Neo-Hittite Ivory Plaque

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    (Copyright MAIAO, Sapienza University of Rome/Photo by Roberto Ceccacci)
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    (Wikimedia Commons)
  • Digs & Discoveries January/February 2019

    The Case of the Stolen Sumerian Antiquities

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    (© Trustees of the British Museum)
  • Features January/February 2019

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    (Skyscan Photolibrary/Alamy Stock Photo)