You are on page 1of 2

Nature camp unveils Archeology and History shrouded in Mythology Most people who visit Hampi are bombarded

with reams of mythological accounts of the place that conveniently shroud the history and natural history of the region. For many years we used to hear about a detailed account of the Viyayanagara dynasty and the Mohammedan invaders who destroyed it. But today the stories go further back to the age of Kishkinda and into Ramayana. Every rock crevice and gulley is used to narrate the incidences of epic whose age never settle down on a convincing time frame. Even the professors of Archeology or History at the University of Hampi fail to help children draw a line between history and mythology. By not enabling children to develop a consciousness about the difference between History and Mythology we keep them out of the spirit of science and pickled in beliefs. A four day workshop on Sloth Bear Ecology was held between 20th and 23rd Nov 2013 at the Nature Camp site of Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Kamalapura in Hospet Taluk of Bellary District. Thirty seven students and four teachers of TVS School, Hosur in Tamil Nadu took part in the fun filled camp. The camp had sessions on evolution and ecology of sloth bear and revolved around fact that among the eight species of bears over the world, sloth bear in spite of being a tropical animal is endowed with black shaggy coat. Why? The students went through a series of brainstorming sessions and games that stimulate the life style of a sloth bear. They sat through sessions on evolution and ecology of sloth bear, traces of earliest Man around Hampi based on the excavations at Sanganakallu in Bellary District and the conservation efforts in the recent times. Thanks to the fossil collector Mr. Santosh Martin who put on display the replicas of the skulls of various hominids. It was a thrilling experience for the children to touch and feel the skulls of the bygone ancestors. Starting from the skulls of Sahelantropus tchadensis whose brain case measured only about 350cc to the more recent Homo heidelbergansis with a cranium of 1400 cc were on hand for the children to inspect. The slides of different stages of development placed in order the long sojourn of our evolutionary path. Along with the skulls were box loads of stone tools and artifacts which revealed the cultural history of various human settlements. They bridge the gaps in history with material evidence, and enable us to understand the changes that took place in human societies across cultures. Children were astonished with how something as little as broken bits of pottery, or carvings, archaeological analyses can turn the pages of history upside down. They realized that Archaeology is a mysterious gateway to the human past. It is the discipline that complements history best with its hard evidences and methodological analysis. On the second day the children had a series of hands on activities right from the crack of dawn. Observation of the day break was a fascinating experience in itself. Lone in the jungle, finding food as a Sloth bear would were activities that took the students through the menu card of a bear. The A/V session in the evening was about biodiversity of Hampi area with special emphasis to Daroji. In the following days the campers visited the ruins of Hampi and the museum at the University of Hampi. They had a guided tour for history and folk studies. To culminate the workshop, the team visited the Sloth bear sanctuary to watch the sloth bears first hand. The team which had felt a bit difficult in catching up with the routine of the camp had just started feeling home while the tents had to be pulled down.

As Kodai Kandhan a ninth grader recalls, We learnt so much about sloth bears, many of us didnt even know sloth bears were in India. We got a lot from your games. It is not just winning or losing that mattered us. We learnt a lot about team spirit, coordination, staying calm and brave. The treks we had with you were tiring but nothing can beat that extraordinary one hour we spent in the forest all alone. It was scary but thinking of it now, we just want to be there once more. There are a lot of such responses by her batch mates. For us it is a pat on our back. Keep it up; keep involving the kids in Nature.

Related Interests