Archaeoastronomy is the study of how people in the past have understood the phenomena in the sky, how they used these phenomena and what role the sky played in their cultures.
In Kashmir such examples abound at various archaeological sites, geographically distributed from north to south. For instance, Bomai Sopore (north) Burzhom (central) Kahmir, Guphkral and Semthan (South). Burzhom which is protected by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and Bomai discovered by Dr Mamtaz Yatoo in 2005 are the fascinating and naturalistic Paleolithic art. The discoveries of rock art in Burzahom and in Bomai are of great significance for humankind. The discoveries of the artifacts and the petroglyphs give us a clear idea of the past communities their standard of life and activities.
In 2019 if you look at the sky and observe two moons or what is called on scientific parlance as Supernova you will certainly like to share the picture or video with friends on social media. It certainly has the potential to get viral. Likewise this phenomenon has puzzled people from the time immemorial and they have been recording it in different forms. Similarly the earth has witnessed various meteorite showers through the course of history. The most known are Allende, Fukang, Goba and Willimmette meteorite showers.
Boat shaped Kashmir Valley had also observed such natural phenomena and some of this has been recorded by our ancestors in the form of rock art (petroglyphs). If we explore the scientific evidence for these characteristics you will discover that these depictions meet what one will expect. Scientists say this is what happened back in 3600BC. Petroglyph discovered in Burzhom is believed to be that oldest sky chart drawn which was made on a stone slab. The rock art depicts the two bright objects in the sky with shapes of humans and animals. In Bomai, Sopore such rock engravings represent the meteorite shower which experts believe has occurred some 40000 to 6000 years back. This interpretation was studied by the scientists of University of Kashmir and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
When a meteorite impacts with the surface of earth it can alter the landscape and form concentric circles around the impact. A Bomai rock engraving clearly displays these circles. The astronomical depiction of this rock engraving is consistent with this interpretation because the petroglyph has the multiple concentric circles distributed across the entire picture.
The geographical distribution of lakes in Kashmir
There are four lakes in region corresponding to the four circles in the rock engraving also. The orientation of the engraving indicates that the meteorite enters the region from the North-West and lands in a South-Eastern direction. The three circles in the Bomai rock art are collinear and the three of the lakes are also aligned in the same direction. In this rock engraving the Wullar Lake can be associated with the top most circle. The second circle relates to the Manasbal Lake, third one with the Dal Lake and fourth with Anchaar Lake. The lines emitting from the circle in the rock art are the indications of the light streak.
During the investigation of the hypothesis, some samples were taken from the Dal Lake which yielded great results.
- Original basin of the structure of the Dal Lake which since its formation has been deformed through erosion.
- On testing the samples taken from the Dal Lake, concentration of 25 different elements have been found including Platinum (34%)Iron (91.7%) Europium (52.2%).
- Pouvoirhydrogene (ph)value of the water at the depth 2m in the lake ,and from the surrounding mountains averages greater than 9.70.
According to the results the researchers are of the view that the formation of the lakes was due to the meteorite impact.
The empirical study of the rock art (petroglyphs)from the Bomai and Burzahom reveals that the ancient people of Kashmir were well aware of the celestial movements and used to record it and also disclose the formation of world famous lakes in Kashmir.
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