Bhimbetka, Auditorium Cave, Madhya Pradesh: Acheulian Petroglyph Site, c. 200,000 - 500,000 BP / o) bmbacwakptrg
The cupule and meander petroglyphs on a boulder in trench II, site III F-24, excavated by V. S. Wakankar. [Bednarik RG, Kumar G and Tyagi GS. (199l). Petroglyphs from central India. Rock Art Research 8:33-35.]
For the most comprehensive research on and analysis of the Bhimbetka petroglyphs see Bednarik RG, Kumar G, Watchman A and Roberts RG. (2005). Preliminary results of the EIP [Early Indian Petroglyphs] Project. Rock Art Research 22,2:147-197; and Harrod J. (2006) Comments with Bednarik RG, Kumar G, Watchman A and Roberts RG Response, Rock Art Research 23,1:113-118. Also Bednarik RG. (1996). The cupules on Chief's Rock, Auditorium Cave, Bhimbetka. The Artefact 19:63-72.
I develop a detailed 'reading' of this petroglyph pairing in Harrod J. (2004). The Bhimbetka Glyphs. Paper presented at Symposium on Earily Indian Petroglyphs and Pre-Upper Paleolithic Art of the World, International Rock Art Congress 2004, Agra, India.
Dating: The cupule and meandering line petroglyphs in the Wakankar trench are buried by the Middle Paleolithic layer and a portion of the Acheulian layer, the former being "so solidly cemented by calcite deposition that the possibility of post-depositional disturbance can be ignored" (Bednarik et al 2005) and the cupules, based on cupule production constraints, must have been made by artists standing in one of the two Acheulian levels, and hence are of Acheulian origin (Bednarik et al 2006). The Bhimbetka cupule and meandering line are currently the oldest dated petroglyphs in the world and move the beginnings of petroglyph art back to the Later Acheulian period.
Photo © Robert Bednarik. OriginsNet thanks Robert Bednarik for permission to publish this most important image in the prehistory of palaeoart.