Exploration Report

From:

DR. SADASHIV PADHAN, PROFESSOR, P.G. Dept. Of History

Sambalpur University, Jyoti Vihar

Sambalpur 768019

Camp S.Rampur

Dist- Sonepur

A team of eight students of M.A. Part-II, Archaeology of P.G Department of History Sambalpur University under the leadership of Prof. Sadashiba  Pradhan, conducted an organized survey of Puja Dunguri and its adjoining hillocks to ascertain their archaeological potentiality. The team surveyed the granite hillocks of Chandali Dunguri, Usha Kothi, Puja Dunguri Chaka Dunguri, Kabat Talai, Phul Changudi, Bhatkhurda, Hundar Dunguri, Bagh Dunguri, Eknabuta, Sarap Dunguri, Bhalu Dunguri, Baba Math and the surrounding valleys. The team was accompanied by local enthusiasts and researchers like Sri Rameswar Naik, Lecturer in History of Shree Ram college, Rampur, Rasika Sahu of the same college, and Ashok Sethi of Village Rampur. They documented pre-historic paintings and engravings in these hillocks.

These works of art are executed by the pre-historic hunter-gatherer who occupied the rock shelter and cavities at a time when his subsistence economy was based on hunting and gathering; and living a life of total insecurity in the midst of dengions. In course of their stay in these shelters they have left behind the traces of their stay in the form of so many paintings and gravings on the walls of such shelters and other artifacts lying embaded on the floors and the valleys they roamed around in their hunting and gathering expeditions.

Here in Ushakothi and Bagh Dunguri rare specimen of paintings are found to be executed on the granite shelter walls in mineral pigment of geru (hematite). The painted forms include animals like deer, Lizards, enthropomorphos and a host of geometric and non-geometric intricate as well as simple patterns and motifs revealing a great deal about their inner thoughts and beliefs. Engravings documented in most of these hillocks are mostly non-figurative and abstract. Distinguished by their bold grooves the major highlights in engravings are triangles resembling female genitals, intricate geometric patterns, parallel abreaded marks and cupules and cup marks. The shelter floors and the adjoining slopes and valleys yielded large number of stone tools and implements like Palaeolithic-Choppers and Neolithic microliths and Neolithic-chalcolithic and early historic potteries and iron objects. Thus the antiquity of the locality ranges from the pre-historic palaeolithic periods, through Neolithic-chalcolithic period-a location of rare distinction in Western Orissa.

What is significant is that the rock art in this part of Orissa shows a trend distinct from the general trend in the rest of Orissa, particularly in the articulation of engravings. Female genital is very natural is very naturalistic in its renderings. This reminds the viewer of the primodical mother the source of creation of all being a cult of fertility and fecundity prevailing in the remote past with the rock shelter dwellers.

Thus the exploration conclusively establishes the antiquity of the locality. The priceless rock art is in a state of fast disappearance due to the vagaries of the nature and human vandalism. The large scale stone quarrying in these hillocks is a potentials danger to this priceless heritage of the mankind. They need to be protected and preserved for the posterity.

We are extremely pleased to observe the awareness and concern of some of the people in the locality for its protection, popularity and projection. Steps initiated by Shree Ram College, Rampur and its N.S.S units in arousing awareness among the local populace is praiseworthy. What is lacking is Government initiative. Concerned Govt. department may take early steps for protection of the site and the surrounding vegetation.

 

Sd/ -

DR. S. PRADHAN

Vice- President, Rock Art Society Of india

and

General Secrtary, Orissa History Congress.

 

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