Dr. Saddhamangala Karunarathna, former Commissioner of Archaeology(1979 – 1983) passed away today.
Dr. Saddhamangala Karunaratne graduated in 1946 from the University of Ceylon and in 1949 he obtained his M. A. specialising in Pali. In 1950 he joined the Department of Archaeology as an Assistant Commissioner.
This was in the heyday of the Department of Archaeology, with Dr. Senarat Paranavitana, an outstanding an eminent scholar historian and epigraphist as Commissioner Dr. Karunaratne had the good fortune of having his training in epigraphy under Dr. Pranavitana and later he went on to Cambridge where he got his Ph.D.
His thesis for the Ph.D. was ‘The Brahmi Inscriptions of Ceylon’. This research work was under the supervision of Dr. K. R. Norman, Professor of Indian studies at the University of Cambridge.In 1979, Dr. Karunaratne was appointed to the post of Archaeological Commissioner, which position he held till 1983. The results of his research on the Brahmi inscriptions are published as a special volume (JII) of the Epigraphia Zaylanica, the prestigious epigraphical volume started in 1905 by Dr. D. M. de Z. Wickramasinghe.
LiDAR’s use in archaeology has two applications. One is the scanning of a single monument to create a digital representation of it. This can be used for a variety of applications, such as for virtual reality, digital preservation of threatened heritage, and mapping for conservation and restoration.
This article series would sum up some of the most important events in the journey of Sri Lankan Archaeology, milestones which changed the way we think of the past, the way we know the past and the way we see and protect the past. Milestones in Sri Lanka archaeology would include important discoveries to institutional and policy establishments, which, has helped the field to progress to the present and helped expand our understanding of the past.
The shipwreck Earl of Shaftsbury is buried on the southern coast of Sri Lanka very close to a frequented tourist destination. It was run aground hitting on a rock at Akurala about three miles away from the shore. In 1893 when sailing from Bombay to Diamond Island the ship sailed past Rangoon through Colombo harbour after unloading charcoal.
Inscriptions are an important source of information of the past in any civilization, and in that, Sri Lanka is fortunate to have a very large number of inscriptions from the earliest years of the Sinhalese civilization down to the Kandyan times. These various inscriptions, inscribed on stone and metal have aided the historian well, in complimenting and supplementing the already voluminous literature works. Sri Lanka’s inscriptions vary from scribbling of few words, to donations to clergy and to royal edicts and charters.