Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Orvakallu Rock Paintings in AP


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Orvakallu Rock Paintings

Mains level: Not Much

rock cave

Central Idea

  • A recent discovery by D. Kanna Babu, former Superintending Archaeologist, reveals a Mesolithic period rock painting in Orvakallu village, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The painting depicts a person tilling land, shedding light on the social life and culture of the ancient inhabitants.

Orvakallu Rock Paintings

rock cave

  • The researchers while conducting a survey of the lower River Krishna Valley, identified a new prehistoric rock painting in Orvakallu.
  • The painting was found on the walls and ceiling of natural rock shelters on a hillock.
  • The site consists of five caves, two of which exhibit distinct depictions of rock paintings from the Mesolithic Age (approximately 5000 BC).

Composition and Condition of the Paintings

  • The paintings were created using natural white kaolin and red ochre pigments.
  • The passage of time and exposure to air and wind have significantly damaged most of the paintings.
  • Despite the deterioration, some sketches and outlines remain visible for visitors.

Significance of the Find

  • The discovery sheds light on the social life and culture of the people who inhabited the area during the Mesolithic Age.
  • One painting depicts a man catching a wild goat while holding a hooklike implement.
  • Another painting portrays two couples with raised hands, accompanied by a child.
  • Notably, a painted figure shows a man holding a plough, suggesting a semisettled life pattern and agricultural practices.

Understanding the Painted Figures

  • The depiction of a man tilling land indicates the cultivation of crops and a semi-settled lifestyle.
  • The paintings offer valuable insights into the daily activities, occupations, and interactions with the environment of the ancient community.


Paleolithic Mesolithic Neolithic Bronze Age Iron Age
Time Period 2.6 million  10,000 BCE 10,000  6,000 BCE 6,000  2,000 BCE 3,300  1,200 BCE 1,200  500 BCE
Characteristics Use of crude stone tools Transition from hunter-gatherer to settled lifestyle Agriculture and farming practices become more prominent Introduction of bronze, a metal alloy made of copper and tin Transition from bronze to iron as the dominant metal
Animals in use Hunter gatherer lifestyle Domestication of plants and animals Domestication of animals Advanced metallurgical techniques Increased trade and warfare
Economy Nomadic existence Emergence of early agriculture and semi-permanent settlements Development of pottery and weaving techniques Rise of complex societies and city-states Emergence of empires and large scale political systems
Artistic Development Cave paintings and engravings Advanced stone tools, including micro-liths Establishment of permanent settlements and early civilizations Development of writing systems and recorded history Flourishing of art, literature, and technology


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