Fishing Practices in Prehistoric Sri Lanka


A considerable amount of information on prehistoric culture has been gathered from various areas in Sri Lanka. Batadomba Lena Cave in Kuruwita and Bundala in the southern Sri Lanka are two prehistoric sites which are as old as 40,000 years and 125,000 years respectively. Several caves in the wet, dry and intermediate zones were excavated during the last 70 years and a large amount of evidence has been discovered from these sites, which could be used to explain the prehistoric culture in Sri Lanka. Archaeo-faunal evidence helped to describe the prehistoric man not only as a hunter gatherer but also as a fisherman in the floodplains, rivers and streams. The simplest form of fishing tools made out of bones were discovered from many prehistoric settlements in Sri Lanka, indicating that there existed a gradual development of fishing technique and related activities. In this synthesis, an attempt is made to discuss the probable fishing techniques practised in the prehistoric times in habitats such as flood plains, rivers and streams. In this regard, information on, 1) traditional fishing practices of native Sri Lankans; 2) fish guilds that are popular in the dietary habits of Sri Lankans; 3

) remains of fishes discovered from the prehistoric settlements; and 4) ecology of freshwater fishes was evaluated. Thirteen food-fish

guilds were recognized

in the dietary culture of Sri Lanka and were ranked considering the discount cialis relative importance in the human diet. The archaeologists have discovered nine fish species and two genera from the excavations so far conducted in prehistoric sites. All those species belong to the food-fish guilds of contemporary Sri Lankans.

Wasantha S Weliange PhD

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This article was first published in Festshrift for Professor S.B. Hettiarchchi. Essays on Archaeology, History, Buddhist Studies & Anthropology.

Weliange. W.S.2010. Fishing Practices in Prehistoric Sri Lanka. Ed, Perera P etal. Festshrift for Professor S.B. Hettiarchchi. Essays on Archaeology, History, Buddhist Studies & Anthropology. Sarasavi Publishers, 30, Stanley Tilakarathna Mawatha, Nugegoda Sri Lanka. 371p.

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