Two scientists of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) will carry out a scientific study on the ancient knowledge system of hematite materials used in the rock art of Kaimur range.
Two scientists have received a project to take the interdisciplinary study forward.
Prof. N.V. Chalapathi Rao of the Geology department and Sachin Kumar Tiwari of the department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, have been sanctioned a project to conduct the study over the course of two years under the Indian Knowledge System Initiative by the Union Ministry of Education.
This will involve extensive use of EPMA/SEM on archaeological material and in joint interpretation. The study will be carried out in the Kaimur range of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Prof Rao said the study of rock art started in India long back soon after its discovery in 1867.
However, it is limited to only discovery, preliminary documentation (without the application of scientific tools) and publications. This is probably one of the reasons why the two important issues in the study of rock art heritage have not been addressed so far.
Firstly, the activities behind making of pigment such as the nature of colours used, their chemical composition and structure, by their mediums (organic and non-organic), characterization techniques used and natural and artificial binding mediums used in making those colours remain unexplored.
Secondly, to know the dating of these executions, which has so far been possible only through relative dating methods, to be accomplished through absolute dating methods like AMS, Uranium Series etc.
The scientists said Indians were pioneers in the rock art material sciences. Many of these traditional technologies are on the verge of extinction.
Prof Rao said that the hematite continues to be one of the most important pigment minerals. The name hematite is from the Greek word ‘haimatitis’ which means ‘blood-red’.
Hematite was one of the major sources of ancient painting, still continuing in the remote region of India.
According to the BHU faculty, the project will be an important step to know and understand the purposes, techniques in terms of expression of rock art in its early stage of development. The project will also make people aware of the Indian Knowledge System and the heritage value attached to it.