Chandaka (Inde) : cave link to ancestors

Anwesha Ambaly

Source -

29oricaves1Experts from the Archaeological Survey of India inspect the pre-historic site that experts claim dates back to the Chalcolithic Age and (below) a cave painting at the site at the Chandaka sanctuary on Tuesday. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

A team of archaeologists has stumbled upon a pre-historic site believed to be around 4,000-years-old in the heart of Chandaka sanctuary on the outskirts of the city. The discovery is expected to throw light on the emergence of human settlements in coastal Odisha.

Experts of the excavation wing of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have explored around 25 caves during their research that began in January. Rock art have been seen on the walls of many of the caves, indicative of an ancient habitation.

"Paintings, engraving and brushing found executed on bare rock faces in the naturally formed caves and rock shelters are the earliest written and visual documents of the prehistoric man. Till now, we had found evidence of such cultures in western and other parts of Odisha. The evidence found on the Khandagiri and Udayagiri hills were damaged and stray. But, the recent findings hint at development of human culture in the coastal part of the state," said D.B. Garnayak, deputy superintending archaeologist of the wing.

The width of the semicircle-shaped caves ranges from five to 20m, while the height varies from 1.5m to 10m and is spread over 30sqkm. The artworks on the walls are mainly geometrical signs, weapons such as harpoon and animal forms - mainly that of lizards.

"Similar rock art have been found in the Ushakothi and Lekhamoda region in Sundargarh that dates back to the Chalcolithic Age (Copper Age, which is transitional period between the late Neolithic and the Bronze Age). So, we are ascertaining that a similar settlement existed in these parts of the state as well. We will send it for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry dating or carbon dating to determine its exact age," he said.

29oricaves2The findings signify that people lived in Parthapur, Kus-apangi and Gayalbank areas.

"We will host a meeting with the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) of the area to discuss ways to further explore the area," he said.

Also, there are plans to develop the area as a tourist site.

"Odisha is a hub of many ancient excavations in most cases, they are not accessible to common man. These findings can be a major tourist attraction and we will try to develop them along those lines," he said.

In the past few years, archaeologists have found remains of adult human beings at Banga and Golabai areas on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.

Experts feel such findings point towards the evolution of civilisation in Odisha.

Kishore Kumar Basa, an eminent archaeologist, said: "These excavations will throw light on the emergence of early farming communities, their settlements and exploitation of natural resources in coastal Odisha. This will also throw light on the phase of Odishan cultural history prior to the emergence of urbanisation."