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Pre-historic sites in Aravallis unprotected

5,000 hectares of archaeologically-valuable land vulnerable to encroachment, damage

Pre-historic sites in Aravallis unprotected


Tribune News Service

Sumedha Sharma

Gurugam, May 25

With no major progress made in surveying and protecting pre-historic sites discovered in the Aravallis, around 5,000 hectares of archaeologically-valuable land is vulnerable to encroachment and damage. It may be noted that around 20 pre-historic sites have been discovered on the mountain range, the latest being the petroglyphs found in Badshapur Tethar village of Sohna.

Survey hangs fire

A proposal for a detailed survey of about 5,000 ha of the Mangar Bani region was sent to the Haryana Government by the Archaeological Department in 2021, following the discovery of Stone Age tools and cave paintings belonging to the Paleolithic-era. However, no major progress has been made till date in this regard.

The Palaeolithic site, which is spread across two acres, includes graffiti and hand and foot prints of humans and animals engraved on quartzite rocks. The site is atop a hillock and just 6 km from Mangar Bani, where cave paintings believed to be from the same period were discovered in 2021. Sunil Hasrana, a local ecologist, says owing to increased encroachment and human activity in the forest, the majority of these sites were at a high risk of being lost.

Hasrana and other locals have been guarding the caves and other sites. They have also written to the authorities concerned in this regard.

“These sites have been listed but are yet to be surveyed, forget getting archaeological protection. These are vulnerable to weather, visitors and encroachments. We are currently protecting these, but swift action is required to ensure that this treasure is not lost,” said Hasrana.

Mangar Bani caves are nestled in a maze of quartzite rocks in the Aravalli mountain range. Locals have been aware of the archaeological importance of these since decades, but it was only in 2021 when the Department of Archaeology and Museums took a note of these. Paintings at this site are yet to be dated.

A proposal for a detailed survey of about 5,000 hectares of Mangar Bani region was sent to the Haryana Government by the Archaeology Department in 2021, following the discovery of Stone Age tools and cave paintings belonging to the Paleolithic-era. However, no major progress has been made till date.

Pre-historic and Mangar Bani paintings in the Aravallis.

Speaking to The Tribune, Banani Bhattacharya, Deputy Director, Haryana Department of Archaeology and Museums, said a committee had been constituted by the Centre this month to take the issue forward.

“A committee has been formed now and we will move ahead with the survey, examination and protection of these sites,” she said.

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