South Deccan Prehistory Project

Research Background
Project Team

Media and Blogs
Protection of Sites and Monuments
Past Events

New Museum

Sub Projects

Origins of Agriculture in South India
Bellary District Archaeological Project
Sanganakallu-Kupgal Project

Ashmounds of South India
(photo gallery & gazetteer)

Web Links

The Challenge of Protecting endangered Sites

Many important archaeological sites in the Bellary district are unprotected and threatened with destruction.  The Neolithic ashmounds, which represent a unique and still poorly understood feature of Indian archaeology, are being destroyed at a rapid rate.  Many existing ashmounds occupy once marginal areas that are now being cultivated due to the expansion of irrigation facilities.  Ashmounds that have survived for 1000s of years are being destroyed in a single season.  An equally important threat to Neolithic sites comes from quarrying activities.  Local granite quarriers target surface boulders, thus obliterating rocks that bear ancient paintings and destabilising archaeological sites that are subjected to serious erosion down hillslopes after boulder removal.  Large scale industrial quarrying is even more destructive, sometimes leading to the removal of entire hills and thus eliminating any possibility of even limited archaeological investigation.  Paddayya (1996) has discussed the destruction of sites in Karnataka in a recent paper in the journal Man and Environment

Local granite quarriers in
the Sanganakallu-Kupgal area






Of the 3 ashmound reported at Kupgal in the 1940s, only one remains (left) and is partially destroyed.  A second was removed (white patch to right) by farmers in 2002.








Exposure of major Neolithic tool production site at Hiregudda as a result of quarrying activity

Updated: 16 May 2010