What are Geoglyphs?

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What are Geoglyphs? Blog Image


Recently, experts and conservationists have raised concerns over the proposed location for a mega oil refinery in Barsu village of Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.

Why in News?

  • Barsu sites in the Konkan region were added to a tentative list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites and protected by the state archaeology department and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

What are geoglyphs?

  • Geoglyphs are a form of prehistoric rock art, created on the surface of laterite plateaus.
  • They are made by removing a part of the rock surface through an incision, picking, carving or abrading.
  • They can be in the form of rock paintings, etchings, cup marks and ring marks.

What is the significance of this prehistoric rock art?

  • Clusters of geoglyphs are spread across the Konkan coastline in Maharashtra and Goa, spanning around 900 km. Porous laterite rock, which lends itself to such carving, is found on a large scale across the entire region.
  • It has more than 1,500 pieces of such art, also called “Katal Shilpa,” spread across 70 sites.
  • This is evidence of the continued existence of human settlements from the Mesolithic (middle Stone Age) to the early historic era.
  • UNESCO’s tentative world heritage list mentions seven sites with petroglyphs in Ratnagiri district — Ukshi, Jambharun, Kasheli, Runde Tali, Devihsol, Barsu and Devache Gothane, one in Sindhudurg district –Kudopi village, and nine sites at Phansamal in Goa.
  • The figures depicted in the geoglyphs include humans and animals such as deer, elephant, tiger, monkey, wild boar, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, cattle, pig, rabbit, and monkey.
  • They also include a high number of reptilian and amphibian creatures such as tortoises and alligators, aquatic animals such as sharks and sting rays, and birds like peacocks.


Q1) Who created these geoglyphs?

It is believed that the geoglyphs were created by the Nasca people who inhabited the river valleys of the Rio Grande de Nasca and the Ica Valley in the southern region of Peru which flourished sometime between 1-700 C.E.

Source: Ratnagiri’s pre-historic rock art: Why a proposed oil refinery has experts worried