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of the sky in rock *
April 18, 2006
HYDERABAD: An early
representation of the Great Bear constellation dating back to
around 500 B.C. has been discovered on a piece of rock at
village of Mahabubnagar district by the University of Hyderabad.
The University's History department dated the find to the
megalithic period and suggested the sky map as being the
earliest physical representation of the sky discovered in the
country. "This probably could even be the earliest such
representation in the entire South Asia," Reader in department
of History K.P.Rao who led the team, claimed at a media
conference here on Monday.
The representation of the group of stars was found on a square
table-like rock with a flat slanting top. "This appears to have
been deliberately planted by the megalithic people to plot the
Great Bear constellation, also known as `Ursa Major' and
referred to as `Saptarshi Mandala' in Indian astronomy," Dr.Rao
The group of seven stars, four of which appear like a rectangle
and a tail-like formation with three stars, has been mapped on
the rock in the form of cup-marks. The Great Bear constellation
was used by several communities especially the caravans and sea
voyagers to identify the `Pole Star', located above the north
pole and thus locate the exact north.
80 Menhirs found
Apart from the sky map of `seven stars', researchers found
accurate depiction of other stars and groups at Mudumala. Dr.Rao
described the site as unique since it was dotted with about 80
big menhirs (standing stones) some as tall as 14 feet and
several hundreds of smaller menhirs scattered all over the
agricultural fields. The central area of the monuments has a
resemblance to the Stonehenge site in England, it is said.
Dr.Rao and team visited the site on the days of summer and
winter solstice and equinox and found that particular rows of
stones were aligned to the rising and setting Sun on these days.
"This suggests the megalithic community here was aware of the
solar trajectories," he said. The investigations at the site
were conducted with financial assistance from the University
*Ancient representation of 'Great Bear' on a stone* *UNI*
Hyderabad, April 20, 2006
A very early representation of the 'Great Bear' constellation,
also known as
'Ursa Major', has been found on a stone at Mudumala village in
Nagar district of Andhra Pradesh. Talking to newspersons here,
Hyderabad University Reader Dr KP Rao said a four member
team of the University's Department of History discovered the
'sky map' belonged to the megalithic period dated to around 500
BC, and was the earliest physical representation of the sky
found in India or even in South Asia.
The representation of the group of stars was found on a squarish
rock having a flat slanting top in the form of 'cup marks' each
of which have about four cm diameter with a shallow depth of
less than 0.5 cm.
The Great Bear constellation was represented by a group of seven
also found an important place in Indian astronomy, where they
were known as
the 'Saptarshi Mandala'.
Mr Rao said that the stone containing the map was located on the
periphery of the site on an elevated place surrounded by
megalithic stone circles.