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Kotte Heritage 4: Veherakanda

By Chryshane Mendis

The historic 15th century Capital city of Kotte, founded as a fortress against the Arya Chakravarithi of Jaffna and made into a fortified city and administrative center by King Parakramabahu VI was the last Capital city to rule over a unified Sri Lanka until independence. Being the Capital, this city would have flourished with mansions of the royalty and nobility, great religious monuments of the Buddhist Viharas, dwellings of the common people and buildings of trade and commerce; the local literary sources such as the Sandesha Kavyas and the accounts of the foreigners such as the Portuguese describe this magnificent city in all its glory. Yet what remains at present is a fraction of what it was during its heyday. The previous articles in this series have discussed the various remains of the fortifications of Kotte. The present article explores yet another prominent monument known to many in Kotte; the Veherakanda ruins in Baddegana.

The ruins of Veherakanda can be found at the end of Beddegana road in Kotte and comprise of a large platform with two small stupas and traces of other buildings around. This is the only one of its kind found in Kotte at present. The ruins have not been identified despite archaeological excavations conducted there in 1949 and various theories have been put forward regarding its identity. This well-maintained site is generally considered a religious site but some say them to be tombs. Mr. Prasad Fonseka in his book KOTTE: THE FORTRESS states that the two stupas belong to the Kotavehera style, which is generally thought to be tombs; the prominent feature being the absence of parts of an ordinary stupa. Accordingly these can be the tombs of Sunetradevi, the mother of King Parakramabahu VI and Vidagama Thero, the two most important persons to Parakramabahu. But however no evidence can be found to support any theory. Taking it into its historical background, this would have been placed in a location outside the outer city of Kotte. Such monuments, be them religious or civil would have no doubt been spread throughout the area around the capital city, hence whatever this may be, it would always be a monument to Kotte’s past.

Weherakanda can be found onto the right, outside the city limits of the ancient city of Kotte.

The excavations of 1949

Excavations were first conducted here in 1949 under Prof. Senerat Paranavitana. In 1946 steps were taken to acquire the site by the Department of Archaeology and finally this 2 acre land was taken over on the 19th December 1948. Upon acquisition this site was overgrown by shrubs and had even been once cultivated; folklore on the site had not prevailed and its identity was entirely unknown expect for its name- Veherakanda meaning Vihara mountain. The survey found the mound had been disturbed but not in recent times. The excavation revealed two small stupas on a large rectangular platform measuring 97 x 53 feet and a height of 5 feet 6 inches made of kabook. Stairways were found to the north and west with only a small section remaining. The base circumference of the larger stupa was 30 feet and the smaller stupa being 21 feet, with the large stupa being made of bricks and the smaller one made of kabook. Parts of the Pinnacle or Kothkaralla were found scattered around. To determine the identity of these, the larger stupa was examined further which revealed two relic chambers but were found empty, having being robbed of its antiquity.

Kotte being a suburb of Colombo in the mid-20th century was populated to a large extent and an archaeological excavation in the midst of this suburb drew much attention; it is recorded that in one week there was a crowd of approximately 25,000 visitors and a fence had to be erected to allow the large crowds gathering to view the site without causing damaging. It is recorded that work had to be halted for a week in order to allow the visitors to access the site. Prof. Paranavitana states that they received much support from the residents and also of a case where a gypsy poet had sung poems (kavi) of the excavation, printed on leaflets and sold in the area of Baddegana.  To the northwest was also found the remains of another building measuring 22 x 12 feet; this would have been used as an image house. To the north of the platform was found the remains of yet another building, the survey revealed tiled pieces around but when excavated no foundations were found, only mortise stones for fixing wooden pillars arranged to a pattern were found. It is believed that the walls of this would have been made out of clay. One of the most interesting finds was found under one of these mortise stones; a copper casket measuring 1.5” x 1.16” x 1” and within it were found few semi-precious stones and a gold coin.

Although this excavation failed to identify the location, it was no doubt revealed to belong to the Kotte period and hence offers an insight into the construction of buildings during this period. The conservations too were conducted within that year and the large kabook blocks of the front section of the platform had to be replaced as the original blocks had decayed. Prof. Paranavitana states that this might have not been a prominent monument as it does not fit the description and location of the prominent monuments described in the Sandesha Kavyas; but it would always stand as a testament to the heritage of Kotte.

 

Getting there

To arrive at the site one coming from Rajagiriya would have to turn down Ehtul Kotte road and from Baddegana junction turn left on Beddegana road and from there take the north Baddegana road (to the left from that junction). from here there are several ways to the site; the prominent way being to proceed along North Baddegana road till it takes a 90 degree right turn and from there continue passing the Bo-tree junction till the end where it meets Wehera Kanda road. From here turn left and taking the left at both the ‘Y’ junctions down it, one would come near the site which is fenced and the sign boards of the Archaeology Department.

Description of the ruins

The ruins are at present well maintained in a beautifully landscaped garden with iron wood trees. The sheer size of the platform states its majesty and would have been an imposing site in its heyday. The two stupas on the platform are also well preserved and when entering the platform to the right of the large stupa in the corner can be seen the remains of the image house. The remains of the building found north of the platform can hardly be seen as per a visit in September 2017 as the weeds around it have covered its form. Set in a quiet neighbourhood it is one of the most important monuments surviving in Kotte at present and is a must see site for all.

References:

  • Fonseka.P, KOTTE: THE FORTRESS, 2015.
  • Paranavitana.S, Puravidyā Paryeshana, 2003.
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Kotte Heritage 3: The Bastions and Passes

Chryshane Mendis

Passes and bastions are important elements of fortifications. The Passes, large and small give access to and from a fort and at times of war would be heavily guarded. Bastions are fortified projections on the ramparts of a fort from which defenders could easily defend the rampart as well as attack enemies due to its wide angle of fire. The fortress of Kotte was equipped with both these elements.

The fortress of Kotte had 6 minor passes and one main land pass giving access to the outside world. The main land pass was through the Outer city in the south. This was around 200 feet in width and protected by the outer moat on both sides and granite stone walls along the moat along with two bastions. This main entrance to Kotte is at present north of Pita Kotte junction near the Sirikotha. There were further two minor passes to the outer city situated on the outer end of the moat.

In the inner city there were 4 minor passes apart from the inner city gate in the south. One pass lay in the northern tip of Kotte and was fortified with a drawbridge to the road towards Colombo. On the northeast of the inner city rampart was the Kantagantota pass and with the other two passes situated on the two edges of the south inner city rampart. The 6 minor passes were created through narrow channels across the lake and the mud layer that surrounded the fort. These passes would have been small concealed openings in the rampart which could have been easily defended during a siege. It is important to note that the fortress of Kotte was designed on that of the Indian city of ‘Mithila’ mentioned in the Ummaga Jataka and accordingly Mithila too had 7 passes to the city.

The bastions are recorded to have been built of granite instead of Kabook from which the rampart was built and they were placed at the entrances to each pass for their protection. Two bastions each guarded the main land access in the outer city and the inner city gate at the inner city and one bastion each protected the rest of the passes. Apart from these defences that were created before the arrival of the Portuguese, with their arrival and subsequent guardianship of the city of Kotte, they too erected defences at the inner city gate and the main land pass in the form of a vallation (a defensive structure like a bastion). Further the ancient Sinhalese chronicles states that Devalas and Kovils were built on top of the bastions.

At present very few of the remains of the above features can be identified. From the bastions, only the Angampitiya bastion which was on the western end of the south inner rampart can be seen and scanty remains of the draw bridge of the northern pass and the entrance to the Kantagantota pass can be seen. The following will go according to the numbering of the Passes and Bastions of the above map.

Pass 01 and Bastion 10

This was situated on the northern tip of the fortress of Kotte and gave entrance to the road to Colombo. This pass was known as the pass of Ambalama and fortified by a bastion and a draw bridge. At present it is would be the location between Morris Rajapakse Mawatha and Jayanthi Mawatha bordering the Parliament road soon after the bridge from Rajagiriya. Remains of the draw bridge, first identified by Mr. Prasad Fonseka of the Kotte Heritage Foundation can be found in the premises of the Lions Club on Morris Rajapakse Mawatha. Here 3-4 large stone pillars could be found which are believed to have been supporting pillars to the draw bridge.

The Pass of Ambalama with the bastion and draw bridge would have been situated in this location on the other side of the road.
Inside the Lions Club premises, there are 2 large stones on the mound bordering the Parliament road.
One of the large stone pillars in the Lions Club premises which would have supported the draw bridge.

 

Pass 02 and Bastion 09

Heading along the eastern inner city ramparts from the north, this was known as the Kantagantota pass and could be found at present in the Parakumba Pirivena. A conserved section of the rampart is found running across the Temple premises and the opening in the middle of the rampart is where the pass would have been. The bastion would have been in close proximity within the present Temple premises but no remains can be found at present.

The gap between the rampart in Parakumba Pirivena

Pass 03 and Bastion 05

This bastion and pass is situated on the edge where the southern and western ramparts meet. This is also known as the Angampitiya bastion and can be reached by turning onto Angampitiya road and after about 200m, from the four-way junction turn left till This bastion and pass is situated on the edge where the southern and western ramparts meet. This is also known as the Angampitiya bastion and can be reached by turning onto Angampitiya road and after about 200m, from the four-way junction turn left till you reach the Sri Jayawardhanapura school play grounds, the rampart can be found on this road in two sections and the bastion is found at the end on to the left. This bastion has been built on a natural mound and cut granite blocks could be found scattered around. This is the only visible bastion of the fortress of Kotte at present but is in a neglected state. A visit two years back showed some granite blocks inplace but these have since been disrupted. The 3rd pass to the inner city would have been near this bastion. Just in front of the bastion is an old well now situated inside a private land, it is stated that there were wells at the entrances to every pass so that the people may wash themselves before entring the fort. This bastion and pass is clearly marked in a Dutch map which is reproduced in the book KOTTE: THE FORTRESS.

Angampitiya bastion
Some of the dislocated granite stones of the bastion.

Bastions 06 & 07 and entrance to inner city

These two bastions would have covered the entrance to the inner city from the outer city. at present no remains of the bastions can be seen as the present Ethul Kotte road runs through this section and the area has been completely built up. A section of the rampart coming from Angampitiya bastion can be seen in the Salvation Army Church premises. The Portuguese sources state that they had built a defensive structure known as a vallation at this entrance, this too could clearly be seen on the Dutch map.

The location of the inner city gate just north of Baddagana junction.

Pass 04 and Bastion 08

This can be found on the end of the eastern rampart where it meets the inner city moat. The rampart here is conserved but no trace of the bastion can be found. From the point where the eastern rampart meets the southern rampart at the 90 degree angle, the southern rampart extends several meters towards the east. This could be the entrance peer to pass no. 04.

The newly conserved section would be the peer to the pass.

Pass 05 and Bastion 01

This pass and bastion was situated at the western end of the outer city moat and rampart and at present would be in an area somewhere down the southern end of 4th Lane. The bastion would have given entrance to the pass through the shallow mud layer here through the lake. This is situated at a lower elevation than the main land pass (Ethul Kotte road area) thus would have been ideal for as a pass as the entire approach could be seen from the higher elevation areas with much safety.

Pass 06 Bastions 02 & 03

Pass 06 was the main land access to the fortress of Kotte just north of Pita Kotte junction and the bastions were built on either side of the main land pass. At present no remains can be found and these would have been situated on either side of the Ethul Kotte road where the present Janatha Sevaka Sangamaya building is and another building on the opposite side. In the centre of this, the Portuguese had built another vallation for further protection.

View from the Land pass towards Pita Kotte junction (Sirikotha is on the left)
Site of bastion 03

 

Site of bastion 02. The western outer moat is behind the small truck.

Pass 07 and Bastion 04

This pass and bastion was situated on the eastern end of outer moat and rampart. At present it could be traced to a location down Ranpokuna Mawatha. This too is in a lower elevation such as Pass 05 and Bastion 01 but no remains can be traced.

Supposed location of the bastion down Ranpokuna Mawatha.

References:

  • Fonseka Prasad, KOTTE: THE FORTRESS, 2015.
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Kotte Heritage 2: The Ramparts and the Moat

Chryshane Mendis

Program Coordinator, archaeology.lk

The ramparts are an important feature in fortifications which serve as the defensive wall protecting the camp or city. Ramparts were used in the ancient world to protect a city, a military camp or a border. Due to the insecurity of the ancient world in comparison to the modern era almost all large urban centers or cities needed fortifications for its defence. The remains of walled cities could be found throughout the world from the ancient cities of Mesopotamia to each and every major civilization up until the dawn of the modern age. In Sri Lanka, the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Panduwasnuwara too were protected by a ring of ramparts. The city of Kotte was first developed in the late 14th century as a purely military fortress by Nissanka Alakesvara and later developed into a fortified city during the reign of King Parakramabahu VI in the early 15th century.

The city of Kotte was divided into two sections, being the inner city and outer city. The inner city was surrounded by a strong rampart with a moat at the South and surrounded by the lake; while the outer city area was fortified by a moat and rampart from the South which guarded the only land pass to the city. The overall defenses were constructed by Nissanka Alakesvara at the inception but the rampart of the inner city area was constructed by King Parakramabahu VI.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Jayawardenepura_Kotte)

Inner city ramparts

The inner city ramparts were constructed by King Parakramabahu VI in the early 15th century and were made up of laterite (kabook) stones. This inner rampart circles the entire city only interrupted in about 6 locations by inner reservoirs. There were 4 small passes into the inner city from the outside and the principle entrance was the inner city gate in the centre of the Southern ramparts. There were further 6 bastions built along the ramparts with 4 guarding the entrance to the 4 passes and 2 at the main inner city gate. The city was protected by a purpose built mud layer and the lake from the North, the West and the East while the rampart from the South was protected by a deep moat. This moat was constructed only on the eastern section of the South ramparts as the western half was in proximity to the lake which provided sufficient protection.

Outer city ramparts

The outer city fortifications were faced to the South which was the main land pass to the city. It is stated that the outer fortifications were built by Nissanka Alakesvara. It composed of granite ramparts, a moat and 2 bastions and also some bastions built by the Portuguese. The granite rampart to the West would have run for about 190 meters while the Eastern section would have run for about 145 meters. In front of these was constructed on either side of the land pass two deep moats. These moats would have been filled with mud and a thin layer of water. The Nikaya Sangrahaya and the Saddharmaratnakaraya states that the outer ramparts were further protected with iron spikes, various other mechanisms and watch towers.

What remains at present?

The ramparts and moats are some of the only preserved archaeological sites in Kotte and a considerable stretch on the inner city rampart could be seen whereas no trace of the outer city granite ramparts could be found. The outer and inner city moats are also very much preserved. Below is a survey done by the writer in April 2017 on the accessible locations of the ramparts and moats.

Description of the inner city ramparts

This description would begin from the north from Parliament road and would go clockwise from thereon.

The outline indicates the inner city ramparts. Red is the ramparts which can no longer be traced. Blue is the conserved ramparts. Brown is the non conserved ramparts

A considerable length of ramparts could be found in the Perakumba Pirivena which could be accessed along the Parliament road. When entering the Pirivena, one could see the rampart running across the Temple premises with about 5 meters of rampart to the right and with an opening of about 10 feet leading to the other side of the Temple; it begins again and runs deep into the temple land for about 50 to 60 meters. The remaining ramparts throughout the area have been declared protected monuments by the Department of Archaeology but many encroachments have taken place; the section in the Temple is an excellent example on the encroachment as it could be clearly observed how the neighbouring lands have destroyed the ramparts. The height of the ramparts here is nothing over 2 feet and the width at the beginning is about 5 feet. One could walk along the long section of the ramparts and when moving forward it is evident on how the lands on the left have taken over; the initial width of 5 feet has about 5 kabook blocks, as one walks on this reduces to 3 kabook blocks and soon to just 2.

Red indicates the rampart

The small section of the rampart in the Pirivena
This road on the other side of the Pirivena and is part of the rampart continuing from the above picture

The encroachment could be clearly seen in two places

The next section of ramparts could be found down the scenic Sri Lanka Nippon Avenue. The first visible ramparts can be seen few meters after the Mahindarama Temple. From here on the rampart is preserved to a considerable extent running down to the south where it turns left along the inner moat. It runs through home gardens which are in certain places well maintained while other sections are overgrown with weeds and also at certain places it is destroyed for the connecting roads. The initial section here is currently being restored by the Department of Archaeology. The book KOTTE: THE FORTRESS also stats that this rampart would have been plastered over with a section down this road containing plaster. As the rampart here runs through private lands a thorough photo-documenting was not possible.

This building is in the Mahindarama Temple down Nippon road and seems to fit the location of the rampart. Its base is made up of laterite blocks which may have been from the ramparts
Part of the rampart under conservation from the Department. This is the first section of ramparts visible down Nippon Avenue

The rampart coming to the inner city moat turns right and runs along the moat. But as the rampart coming near the moat, it turns right; a small section turns left projecting to the boarder of Nippon Avenue. This was according to KOTTE: THE FORTRESS the pier for one of the four passes entering to the city. This initial section is well preserved. Entering to the moat the road crosses on to the rampart and runs along it. Here much encroachment could be seen. As one walks up the ramparts along the moat, it increases in elevation and the great depth of the moat could be seen. From here there is only a single line of kabook bricks indicating the rampart. This section could also be accessed through the First Lane down Rampart Road from Ethul Kotte. This entire section is about 150 meters. It ends at a wall just 2 blocks from the Ethul Kotte road where the inner city gate would have been. Adjoining this block is a new apartment complex and few years back sections of the rampart was visible there but are now lost.

A view of the southern ramparts. Red indicates the conserved ramparts. Blue indicates the moat. Brown is rampart not conserved. Orange arrow indicates the location of the inner city gate
Rampart beginning along the inner city moat. The newly conserved section would have formed the pier for the pass that would have been from here. The eastern ramparts join the wall from where the older conserved section begins

The road running on top of the ramparts along the inner city moat

Rampart along the inner city moat

Now going along the South ramparts on the West of Ethul Kotte road a small section could be found in the Salvation Army Church premises. This stretch of rampart is not conserved and many walls of the neighbouring houses have been built on top. This rampart runs towards the west and ends near the Angampitiya bastion from where it turns north, these sections could be accessed along the Angampitiya road. From where the rampart ends in the Salvation Army premises after few blocks it could be traced again for about 20 meters. Arriving down Angampitiya road from the four ways junction turn left along the small road and arriving up to the Sri Jayawardhanapura School Play Ground one would come across the rampart. Arriving near the ground to the left is a high rising ground with trees, this is the ancient Angampitiya bastion and observing it clearly one could find granite stones which have now eroded away. The section from the Salvation Army Church joins here and turns north. This southern stretch is not clearly visible but walking at the base of this ridge through the thick undergrowth one could find the kabook blocks which make up the rampart.

The Salvation Army Church, part of the site of the inner city gate. Behind this could be found sections of the western half of the southern ramparts

Sections of the ramparts behind the Church
The Angampitiya bastion. The rampart comes straight from the inner city gate and at this point turn left (as per the picture) and forms the western rampart
Granite blocks of the Angampitiya bastion
Section of the rampart coming from the Inner city gate side. Note the elevation by the red arrow

Remains of the rampart on this section

From here the rampart runs northwards with few sections along this road and on the road across Angampitiya road could be seen.

Sections of the western rampart from Angampitiya bastion

Angampitiya road running across

The last visible ramparts along the western section

The western side of the ramparts of Kotte is interrupted at 3 places due to the ancient inner reservoirs but at present, after the above described ramparts, no remains of the ramparts or the reservoirs could be traced. A survey by the writer done along all the roads towards the North on the west of Ethul Kotte road revealed no visible ramparts. This area is highly residential and it is most likely that certain sections still remain within few home gardens as the book KOTTE: THE FORTRESS also mentions, but these are off limits for the regular tourist.

Description of the outer city ramparts

The outer city ramparts which were said to have been built of granite blocks is not visible at present. But traces of kabook blocks could be seen along the western section of the outer moat.

Remains of the rampart on the western section of the outer moat

Description of the inner city Moat

The inner city moat can be accessed as mentioned above along the Sri Lanka Nippon road or the First Lane down Rampart road. Walking along the ramparts along the moat one could see how gradually the moat deepens. The moat would have been filled with a layer of mud and water thereby restricting access by swimming and also maintaining the height of the ramparts. Scaling the moat from the bottom to the top of the ramparts is a near impossible task as the writer experienced thus adding a superb defence to this place. The inner city moat is found only on the east of the inner city gate and no moat was built on the west as area along the Salvation Army Church is levelled ground.

Inner city moat

Description of the outer city Moat

This can be found before the Pitta Kotte junction bordering the UNP Headquarters Sirikotha. The moat could be found on either side of the main road. Both sides of the moat are overgrown with shrubs but the great depth of the moat could be seen clearly. This outer moat and rampart guarded the only land pass to the fortress of Kotte and was the scene of many battles.

Western section of the outer city moat

Eastern section of the outer city moat

The ramparts of Kotte, as being some of the prominent archaeological sites of Kotte are also the most affected sites due to the encroachments made by residents. Although the Department of Archaeology has declared these as protected monuments, without the support from the residents it is an impossible task to preserve them.

References

  • Fonseka, Prasad, KOTTE: THE FORTRESS, 2015.

 

The next article would explore the bastions, the passes, and the lake of the fort…

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Moonstone advertised for auction at the Bonhams auction in London, United Kingdom – The study report

The study report was done by the Mr. Wijerathne Bohingamuwa, DPhil/PhD Research Student School of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Some extracts from the report is given below and you can download the report from following link.

report_download

low price propecia
archaeology.lk like to take this opportunity thank Mr. Wijerathne Bohingamuwa for his time and commitment for prepare this report.

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Front Cover - The Moonstone for sale at the Bonham Auction in London - The Study Report
Front Cover – The Moonstone for sale at the Bonham Auction in London – The Study Report

Some extracts are given below.

1. Back ground

Publication of a web advertisement by the London based antiquity auctioneers Bonhams on January 10th 2013 under the title of “Rare Buddhist Anuradhapura period (377 BC – 1017 AD) Indian carved stone temple step discovered by Bonhams in a Devon garden will be sold in London” created a considerable public and media interest in Sri Lanka. Not surprisingly so as the artefact claimed to have originated from the Buddhist heritage of the island. The general demand by the public, media and even some reputed scholars of archaeology and art history was to take measures for the return of the artefact to Sri Lanka. The Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka, rightfully, decided to verify the authenticity and if possible to establish the provenance of the artefact by physical examination and research as a prerequisite for initiating the necessary course of action. Hence the author was formally appointed to undertake this task on behalf of the Director General of Archaeology, Sri Lanka. Here is the resultant study report.

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Moonstone advertised for auction at the Bonhams auction in London, United Kingdom
Moonstone advertised for auction at the Bonhams auction in London, United Kingdom

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Moonstone - Sadakada Pahana - Anuradhapura- Near Thuparamaya
Moonstone – Sadakada Pahana – Anuradhapura- Near Thuparamaya

Moonstone - Sadakada Pahana - Anuradhapura- Near Thuparamaya - 02 Moonstone - Sadakada Pahana - Anuradhapura- Near Thuparamaya - 03 Moonstone - Sadakada Pahana - Anuradhapura- Near Thuparamaya - 04 Moonstone - Sadakada Pahana - Anuradhapura- Near Thuparamaya - 05

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Comparison of moonstones in Anuradhapura and London
Comparison of moonstones in Anuradhapura and London

3.1 Description of the moonstone

The MBAL measures 146 cm (along the straight edge of the half lotus side) X 123 cm (at the longest point from the half lotus end to the semi-circular edge). Thickness of the moonstone varies from 14 cm in the semi-circular end to 18 cm in the centre of the half lotus end of the moonstone. The author could not, obviously, weigh the object and it is reported to weigh three quarters of a ton5. The artefact is perfectly preserved (discussed below) except for the slight damage to the tusk of the last elephant in the southern most end of the animal procession panel. Effects of fungi growth, however, is clearly visible on the carved surface where as the opposite side is rather fresh.

4. Possible conclusions

Establishing the provenance and authenticity of artefacts detached from their contexts without any record is a challenging task. This is particularly true for artefacts in antiquity market as the auctioneers purposely mask the provenance and true history of the artefact. Moonstone in Bonhams auction in London (MBAL) is no exception. If Bonhams’ account is accepted, MBAL is a genuine piece of art and it belongs to the Anuradhapura period of Sri Lankan history. However its history cannot be traced beyond 1950. Though some scholars have traced the genesis of Sri Lankan moonstone to India, developed forms of moonstone as seen in the island are a unique creative work of Sri Lankan Art and Architecture. The MBAL artistically and thematically resembles late Anurdhapura period moonstones, specifically the moonstone number 10 (in Anuradhapura) of Godakumbure’s publication 1967 (MNG10). While there are number of similarities between MBAL and MNG10, there are more important marked differences as well. In short, MNG10 and other known moonstones in Anuradhapura are of very fine quality and details of the carvings are superior. Craftsmen have given more consideration to finer details of carvings since they had a message to convey and less attention to getting fine edges. The thickness of the stone slabs of Anuradhapura genuine moonstones seems much thinner than that of MBAL. The MBAL shows some evidence of weathering. However considering the antiquity assigned to the artefact and the distance it is claimed to have travelled it may be expected to have born more evidence of wear and tear. Perfect preservation of artefacts under favourable circumstances is possible. However when an artefact weighing three quarters of a ton
travels over thousands of miles and moves over six times from place to place, it would be expected to witness the evidence of such journey. Such evidence is meagre in the MBAL. Under these circumstances the antiquity and the authenticity assigned to the artefact, naturally, comes under the radar of suspicion. The absence sufficient data – statistical, descriptive and photographic details as well as scientific evidence of material/rock types
used for making moonstones- of moonstones in the Island and that of the one in London makes it difficult come to a definite conclusion about the authenticity of MBAL. However the likelihood of MBAL being a replica of a genuine moonstone of Anuradhapura period is quite high. Nevertheless this does not mean to completely reject the claim that the MBAL is an original Sri Lankan moonstone.

Local geologists, archaeologists with scientific background and geo-archaeologists tend to conclude that the material used for this artefact is granitic gneiss (high-grade metamorphic rock) commonly found in the North Central Province in Sri Lanka. Does this support the authenticity of the moonstone or the possibility of the replica, if it is the case, was made in Sri Lanka itself? Further research is needed, in my view, to answer these issues.

5. Some recommendations

1. While our preliminary investigations seem to suggest a high possibility of the moonstone in London (MBAL) being a replica of a genuine Anuradhapura period moonstone, probably of the number 10 moonstone in Godakumbure’s 1967 publication (MNG 10) or a similar one, it is exceedingly advisable to undertake further research, inclusive of the scientific analysis of the material, on the moonstones of Sri Lanka and that of MBAL before reaching a final decision. Present study should be considered as a preliminary investigation upon which further research should be based. Data collected by such research may be evaluated by a national committee of experts for reaching at a final decision.

2. Unavailability of sufficient data on moonstones in Sri Lanka is a serious hindrance in this regard. It is highly desirable and timely that concerted efforts be made to collect all possible data including scientific evidence on the material used for moonstones and such data should be compared with that of MBAL.

3. Our consultation to determine the material/rock type used for the MBAL lead to two different views: local experts concluding it to be granitic gneiss while Oxford expert deciding it to be granite or micro granite. This issue may be resolved by petrological studies of the rock sample or examination of the moonstone by a geologists/geo-archaeologist. It is desirable to compare such data with those of the moonstones in Sri Lanka, particularly from

Anuradhapura region.

4. In dealing with the antiquity market not only the national and international laws and conventions such as 1970 “UNESCO convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property” to which both Sri Lanka and United Kingdom are signatories should be considered, but also the professional ethics largely agreed by professional and academic bodies of Archaeology and Museums should be given due consideration.

5. The officials in the Division dealing with the (illegal) export of artefacts and related matters at the Department of Archaeology should be enlightened in (the local antiquity laws which they are obviously conversant with) all international conventions on heritage to which Sri Lanka is signatory. More over it is necessary to know the antiquity laws and international conventions signed by countries with which they will have to deal in relation to heritage issues and antiquity markets. Knowledge of the professional ethics generally agreed by the archaeological bodies and museums is extremely handy in such efforts.

6. Sri Lankan missions in overseas should be

updated with the information discussed in number 5. Such information helps them in taking prompt and efficient actions with regards to Sri Lankan heritage objects in the country they are stationed.

6. Beyond viagra femele the issue of moonstone in London 

1. It is highly enviable to take this opportunity to reflect on Sri Lanka’s antiquity laws, the national policies and priorities concerning the heritage in the island. As it is clear from the issue of the moonstone, the island lacks a satisfactory inventory of archaeological sites, monuments and artefacts. This is particularly true for the areas recently liberated. Limited resources available to the Department Archaeology make this task extremely difficult.

However strenuous and collective efforts should be made to survey the island and inventorying sites, monuments and artefacts, by mobilizing resources available in other relevant institutions particularly those in the archaeology departments in universities and the large number of graduates graduating from these universities annually. Considering the rapid development projects that are underway in Sri Lanka after the war, making such an inventory and a national data base a prime importance.

2. Decisions on national heritage issues such as the moonstone in London advertised for auction should be firmly based only on the antiquity laws of the island and international conventions to which Sri Lanka is signatory and professional principles and ethics universally agreed.

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