Colonial Heritage

Dutch Forts of Sri Lanka and Where to Find Them

The Dutch forts of Sri Lanka are a unique group of monuments of the island’s tangible cultural heritage....

Katuwana Dutch Fort excavations: 20 years on

Sri Lanka has many colonial period monuments and chief among them are the forts, which are mainly of...

Gateway to Sri Lanka Archaeology

Welcome to the Gateway to the Sri Lanka Archaeology. This site provides information on research, excavations, explorations, publications, reports, articles, people, archaeologists, institutes, academics related to Sri Lanka Archaeology. If you are looking for the සිංහල website, please follow this link.

Latest Articles

State Honours for Dr Gamini Wijesuriya: 2021 ICCROM Award Winner

Gamini Wijesuriya, the first Sri Lankan to receive the prestigious ICCROM award to appreciate his contributions to the field of cultural heritage.

Prehistory

Archaeologists

The Father of Archaeology

Sir William Flinders Petrie, legitimately addressed as the Father of Archaeology, also was the first to systematically investigate the Pyramids in Egypt during the 1880s.

Raj Somadeva biography and contact number

Raj Somadeva is a senior professor attached to the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology(PGIAR), University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

Adieu Dr. Siran Deraniyagala! the founder of modern Sri Lankan Archaeology

It is no easy task to pen down few words on the life history of a colossus like Dr. Siran Deraniyagala, but nevertheless I will try. Life has its ways, its own twists and turns at times one would not expect; such was the shocking yet inevitable demise of Dr. Deraniyagala.

Who cited Dr. Siran Deraniyagala and for what?

Dr. Siran Deraniyagala must be the most influential archaeologist in Sri Lanka after Prof. Senarth Paranavitana. Introducing a new historical paradigm to the Sri Lankan past, undoubtedly, it was only he who presented a systematic - theoretical framework to the Sri Lankan past and tested a hypothesis through several decades until it developed into general acceptance.

Historical Places

Embekke Devalaya- An icon of Sri Lankan Wood Carvings

Embekke Devalaya can be considered a significant architectural edifice along with its finest wood carvings. Its history extends back to the Gampola period.

Temple of the Sacred tooth relic, Kandy – A Living Heritage

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy is one of the most religious places with artistic, architectural, cultural and spiritual values

Sigiriya Rock Fortress – An introduction to the ancient wonder

Sigiriya Rock Fortress, an ancient wonder of Sri Lanka was designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1982, due to its universal value

Epigraphy

Archaeological Surveys

Most Popular

State Honours for Dr Gamini Wijesuriya: 2021 ICCROM Award Winner

Gamini Wijesuriya, the first Sri Lankan to receive the prestigious ICCROM award to appreciate his contributions to the field of cultural heritage.

The Father of Archaeology

Sir William Flinders Petrie, legitimately addressed as the Father of Archaeology, also was the first to systematically investigate the Pyramids in Egypt during the 1880s.

Raj Somadeva biography and contact number

Raj Somadeva is a senior professor attached to the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology(PGIAR), University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

Adieu Dr. Siran Deraniyagala! the founder of modern Sri Lankan Archaeology

It is no easy task to pen down few words on the life history of a colossus like Dr. Siran Deraniyagala, but nevertheless I will try. Life has its ways, its own twists and turns at times one would not expect; such was the shocking yet inevitable demise of Dr. Deraniyagala.

Who cited Dr. Siran Deraniyagala and for what?

Dr. Siran Deraniyagala must be the most influential archaeologist in Sri Lanka after Prof. Senarth Paranavitana. Introducing a new historical paradigm to the Sri Lankan past, undoubtedly, it was only he who presented a systematic - theoretical framework to the Sri Lankan past and tested a hypothesis through several decades until it developed into general acceptance.

Maritime Archaeology

Sri Lanka Dive Sites – Historical Shipwreck Sites

Over 100 Sri Lanka Dive Sites are related to historical shipwrecks and shipwreck sites in Sri Lankan waters. They are scattered around the country, and there may be many unknown shipwrecks around the country. Most of the identified historical shipwrecks belong to the colonial period, and the oldest shipwreck site identified is the 2000 years old Godawaya Shipwreck Site, the oldest shipwreck site in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Maritime Archaeological Study on Cowry Shells (Monetaria moneta) that discovered from the Ancient Harbour Ambalangoda

The main objective of this research is to explicate the significance of Cowry Shells (Monetaria moneta) that discovered from the Ancient Harbour of Ambalangoda which located at No 85 –Patabandimulla Grama Niladari Division (GND) of Ambalangoda Secretariat Division (SD), Galle District (06 14 104 N - 080 03 127 E); through the collected data from field research (studying existing collection, collecting samples, lab analysis) and library survey methods. According to the investigations carried out by the groups of Archaeology, Maritime archaeology and non-archaeology (1998, 2007 and 2012) have been unearthed a number of Cowry shells with other artefacts.

Sailing Ships and Temple walls

As stated at the beginning of the paper, the work so far carried out is not conclusive. There remains much to be done. For example, it would be useful to compare this graffiti with the drawings of ships shown in Dutch period maps of Ceylon, India and Indonesia. In addition, any dates arrived at with regard to the wall paintings on which the graffiti had been drawn, would have to be taken into consideration. In conclusion it is wished to invite scholars with specialist knowledge to build upon the foundation laid and carry this fascinating line of inquiry further.

The story of two Arabic Epigraphs found from the Ambalangoda Harbour

The great Chronicles Mahavamsha and Sandesa kavviya (messenger poems) had not mentioned about the activities of the ancient harbor at Ambalangoda. Thisara Sandesaya (1344-1359 AD) (Gunawardane, 2001 p. 1), Parevi Sandesaya (After 1415 AD) have described the coastal areas of the Southern province near Ambalangoda in their poems. Kalutota, Maggona, Beruwala, Aluthgama, Kosgoda, Bentota, Welitota (Balapitiya), Madampamodara, Totagamuwa, Rathgama mentioned in Thisara and Parevi sandesyas (Jayatilake, 2002 pp. 97, 101, 102, 103, 104, 107, 108, 109, 113; Gunawardane, 2001 pp. 101, 103, 107, 108, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116). However, one notable thing is the name “Ambalangoda” has not mentioned in this Sandesas.

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Ancient Technology

Highway System in Ancient Sri Lanka

Historical information about the ancient road network of Sri Lankais restricted to random records encountered in historical documents and also to information recorded as a result of research carried out during the British administration. This study is based on a recent research conducted with special attention towards the technical aspects of the ancient road system and it's expansion over the island. An attempt is also made to reconstruct the road system that existed from thethird century BC up to 13th century AD.

Scientific evidences to show ancient lead trade with Tissamaharama Sri Lanka: A metallurgical study

The location of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean opened her many opportunities to interact with foreign trade links at the historical time. Archaeologists have established a knowledge regarding the ancient trade links that Sri Lanka had with the out side world by mostly studying the visually identifiable foreign made archaeological objects such as coins, ceramics, beads etc. in addition to using information from the written sources. It is evident all such foreign made archaeological objects discovered so by archaeologists were finished objects most probably exchanged for local trading goods.

Kandy Period Bronze Buddha Images of Sri Lanka: Visual and Technological Styles

A rich collection of Buddha images belonging to the Kandyan period (17th– 18th Century AD) possessing characteristic visual features and made of different media have been found from the different parts of the country. Among them a significant number of images are made using the metal. This paper intends to study the metallurgy of the Kandyan period Buddha images which in turn gives some light to the metal technology of that period. In addition this paper tries to study metallurgy of the studied icons in relation to their visual features (visual styles)

Surgery in an ancient kingdom

It’s 12th century Polonnaruwa---Prof. Leelananda Prematilleke and Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare go back in time to discuss a unique find worldwide; a hospital with advanced surgical instruments.

Biographies

In loving memory of Dr. Roland Silva, a pillar of Sri Lankan Archaeology

Deshamanya Vidya Jyothi Dr. Roland Silva is one of the foremost Asian experts in the conservation of historical monuments and sites and one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent archaeologists. He was the former Commissioner of Archaeology (1983-1990) and the Founder Director General of the Central Cultural Fund that implemented the UNESCO-Sri Lanka Project of the Cultural Triangle, former Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa, former President of the World Body of Conservators, the first international president of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) from Asia (1990-1999) and UNESCO Chair and the founder President of The National Trust Sri Lanka.

20th Century Historians: Rev. Fr. S G Perera

The student of the colonial history of Sri Lanka has undoubtedly come upon the name of S. G. Perera in their studies. Fr. S. G. Perera, a Catholic Priest of the Society of Jesus was an exemplary scholar of the last century and whose parallels are unheard of. Publishing over a dozen books and over 300 articles in journals, his contributions to the history of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka and the history of the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods of the island have aided the development of historical knowledge to a great extent in Sri Lanka; what could be called his magnum opus, the translation of the ‘Conquista’ of the 17th century Portuguese historian Fr. Queyroz, is the single most important Portuguese literary work which is the basis for any historical study on the Portuguese period. His proficiency of the Portuguese language gave him access to numerous original sources which he has translated and made available to the public is part of the wonderful legacy of this great historian of Lanka.

20th Century Historians : D.W. Ferguson

Historical researches undoubtedly require reference to original sources; at present much of the original literature on Sri Lanka both local and foreign have been reproduced and translated into the present vernacular. This tedious task has no doubt aided the modern student of history to dig through original works of literature with much ease. Contributions of Donald William Ferguson in the areas of Portuguese history are a landmark in scholarship in the country and there is scarcely a student or writer of Sri Lankan history who has not benefited by the penetrating researches of Donald Ferguson.

History

Truth behind the Prison cell of the last King in Colombo Fort

The Prison cell of the last King of Kandy, King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha in Colombo fort is a somewhat well-known monument. Although most individuals working in the Fort area do not notice it, it is a famous destination for tourists. It is situated within the premises of the Ceylinco House building down Janadipathi Mawatha (Queen’s Street) at the turn off to Bank of Ceylon Mawatha. The aim of this article is to see if this is really the prison cell of the last King or something else; as there appear currently two traditions to this story, a common tradition and an academic tradition.

Important Inscriptions of Sri Lanka: Part 01

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.

Archaeological Sites around Dimbulagala: Part 02

By Chryshane Mendis Pulligoda Pulligoda is a small cave containing paintings...

Whatever happened to the King’s mother?

By Somasiri Devendra and Prof. Sarath Edirisinghe Questions, and an...

Archaeological Sites around Dimbulagala: Part 01

Dimbulagala is a large isolated mountain situated in the North Central Province, east of Polonnaruwa. Its history dates back to the early historical period of Sri Lanka and was home to a Monastic complex during the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods. Dimbulagala is presently most famous for the Dimbulagala Rajamaha Viharaya and its late chief incumbent the Ven. Sri Seelalankara Thero who had served the people of Dimbulagala for decades but was murdered in 1995 by the LTTE.

Marketing

Exclusive Content

Check your knowledge about Sri Lankan Archaeology by answering 10 questions – III

Check your knowledge about Sri Lankan Archaeology by answering 10 questions

Highway System in Ancient Sri Lanka

Historical information about the ancient road network of Sri Lankais restricted to random records encountered in historical documents and also to information recorded as a result of research carried out during the British administration. This study is based on a recent research conducted with special attention towards the technical aspects of the ancient road system and it's expansion over the island. An attempt is also made to reconstruct the road system that existed from thethird century BC up to 13th century AD.

Important Inscriptions of Sri Lanka: Part 01

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.

Sailing Ships and Temple walls

As stated at the beginning of the paper, the work so far carried out is not conclusive. There remains much to be done. For example, it would be useful to compare this graffiti with the drawings of ships shown in Dutch period maps of Ceylon, India and Indonesia. In addition, any dates arrived at with regard to the wall paintings on which the graffiti had been drawn, would have to be taken into consideration. In conclusion it is wished to invite scholars with specialist knowledge to build upon the foundation laid and carry this fascinating line of inquiry further.

An Archaeological Study on the Kaduruwela Fortress

The main objective was to create a scale drawing of the architectural feature identified from Satellite images using the data taken from a field survey of the area. The secondary objective being the proper identification of the site using the archaeological evidence from the excavations.

All Articles

Dates Extended for Call for Research Abstracts – 6th Undergraduate Research Symposium on Archaeology (URSARU 2021), Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

General Guidelines Title Sinhala - Size-14 , Font- FMAbhaya, Bold English - Size- 13, Font - Times New Roman, Bold Author's Name Indicate the last name...

Call for Papers – The Journal of Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Call for Papers - The Journal of Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Temple of the Sacred tooth relic, Kandy – A Living Heritage

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy is one of the most religious places with artistic, architectural, cultural and spiritual values

Sigiriya Rock Fortress – An introduction to the ancient wonder

Sigiriya Rock Fortress, an ancient wonder of Sri Lanka was designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1982, due to its universal value

Galle Fort – Sri Lanka: UNESCO World Heritage Site 2020

In the southwest coastal area of the island, there lies the famous bay of Galle shaded from the picturesque surrounding. Its history extends back to 545 AC, as one of the most ancient ports recorded in the Cosmography of Cosmas Indicopleustes. It was the main port of the country, by the time Portuguese arrived here.

Claudius Ptolemy’s Sri Lankan Map

Ptolemy's Sri Lankan Map (Ptolemy Sri Lanka Map) created by  Claudius Ptolemy is the most famous historical map of this island nation. Ptolemy created this map in 139 AD. The Greeks called Sri Lanka Taprobana or Taprobane.