Pune: Underlining the need for conservation, preservation and dating of rock art in India, a three-day event of 22nd International Congress of Rock Art Society, from October 26 to 28, was inaugurated at Deccan College Deemed University, Pune on Thursday.
The conference was hosted by Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, Pune and State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Mumbai on the occasion of 150th year of celebration of Rock Art Research in India.
The theme of the conference is ‘Rock Art discipline in Indian Ocean rim countries: Prospects, challenges and strategies to meet them’.
On the occasion, President of Rock Art Society of India (RASI) RC Agarwal said, “The issues facing rock art in India are interpretation, documentation and dating. There is a dispute over the chronological dating of the art form. The founder of this discipline classified rock art of Bhimbetka region to upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Chalcolithic and Historic periods. Since no major breakthrough could happen to provide this chronology a scientific base through rock art dating was required. We need support to draw a system to do analysis, interpretation and dating.”
Secretary of the society Giriraj Kumar said, “We should pioneer in scientific dating of rock art and create a scientific desk in India so that researchers from other countries can contribute to it.”
A Sundara, scholar, researcher suggested that Deccan College take up a short-term course on rock art. Preservation of the art form is another challenge as a rock shelter in Karnataka was destroyed by a stone quarry that came up near the site.
Sundara said more scholars are needed to preserve the data. He said, “We have less scholars in this field and efforts are needed to attract more people in this field.”
He said villagers can be roped in to do the work. He said they need to educate them about the exact location of rock art shelter and spread awareness about it.
During the inaugural speech, NR Karmalkar, Vice-Chancellor, Savitribai Phule Pune University recalled the memorable time he spent here as a research student in the late 80’s. He said, “It was a good thing that the students and interested persons are able to study geology as well as archaeology at Deccan College. I feel that the conference would certainly focus on the ongoing trends in the field.”
The coordinator and faculty at Deccan College Kantikumar Pawar said, “We are celebrating 150 years of discovery of rock art in India. Indian art plays a crucial role in understanding the cognitive and cultural development of early humans.”