A group of caves containing ancient rock art have been discovered by a researcher in Akkampalli, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The discovery is archaeologically significant as the caves contain artwork that depicts the state of civilisation and culture 7,000 years ago.
The site, found by researcher K. Ramakrishna Reddy and comprises five caves — three natural and two rock-cut — the etchings on whose walls throw a great deal of light on the life, culture, traits and beliefs of the era. Curiously, they contain dozens of images of crocodiles, with one of the caves depicting a detailed life-size figure of a crocodile prominently drawn in red ochre.
The site has hence been named musalla gunda (‘boulder of crocodile’), and it has been suggested that the area must have contained crocodiles although there are no water bodies there currently. Depictions of crocodiles have been found at other rock art sites in India, including the artwork shown in the featured image, which was discovered in the Bhanpura-Gandhi Sagar area of Madhya Pradesh. The crocodile measures 1.45 metres in length and is depicted in x-ray style, which also shows the internal organs of the crocodile. These paintings not only point out to the keen interest which prehistoric folk took in the study of animals but that these folks were spread out over wide geography and over a span of several eras.
Two other famous prehistoric rock art sites can be found within Andhra Pradesh, including Ketavaram, a site containing 100 human and animal figures drawn on basalt rocks, belonging to a period ranging from 6,000 BC to 200 AD; and Chintakunta, the second largest rock art site in India, which contains 200 paintings in ten shelters bearing red and white paintings of deer, bulls, elephants, foxes, rabbits, hyenas, reptiles, birds, geometric designs and human figures. The site in Akkampalli is thought to be contemporary to the existing rock sites at Ketavaram and Chintakunta.
One of the caves has been converted into a Shiva shrine referred to as Nainalappa gudi or Vibhuthipandla guha.