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A conference on understanding the values embedded in burial archaeological sites in Southernmost India

This conference is focused on understanding the values embedded in burial archaeological sites in southernmost India. The objective of the conference is to discuss the importance of burial archaeology to academia and its significance in promoting postgraduate research related to archaeology in the country. It has been said that values embedded in historic buildings, archaeological sites, and other important places of the past honored all nations in South Asia in ways that would inspire and motivate present and future generations. In the past few decades, archaeologists have diligently discovered, documented, analyzed, and curated our collective past. However, this rich store of data has not yet been exploited for documenting and understanding the long-term trajectories of human societies. Investigations indicate that archaeological data can be the key to expand scientific understandings of human social dynamics, redressing injustices of the past, empowering local and descendant communities, and aiding in the formulation of solutions to contemporary problems in South Asia. For this purpose, a collaborative synthetic research, as practiced in human palaeo-ecology (environmental archaeology) and other sciences, has been a powerful driver for advancing interdisciplinary science. To use these advances, archaeologists, as a community, need the means to bring disparate data sets together and interpret them. This entails creating a vehicle by which collaborative synthetic research becomes a routine and institutionalized practice in archaeology—a budding effort we call the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis. It is an initiative that will not only benefit the discipline but will also enable researchers to communicate to the public the richly detailed stories of humanity itself. Burial archaeological context in southernmost Asia (i.e. Sri Lanka and South India) is the theme of this particular conference.

 

Specific Objectives:

  1. To expose the existing knowledge, particularly the grave sites of Sri Lanka and South India
  2. To strengthen collaborative synthetic research in archaeology
  3. Help open up relevant archaeological and paleoenvironmental data collected during archaeological projects to other scientists
  4. To realize the potential of archaeological records to serve interdisciplinary research

 

The conference will be held on 20th and 21st December 2018 at the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, 407, Bauddaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07. Please refer to the map given below for the location and directions.

20.12.2018 (Thursday)
Start time 9.00 am
9.00-9.15 ARRIVAL OF PARTICIPANTS  AND WELCOME  ADDRESS

Dr. T. R. Premathilake

9.15-10.00 Keynote Lecture: Understanding the burial Archaeological context in

Sri Lanka    

Prof. Sudarshan Seneviratne

10.00-10.30 Issues raised from the Keynote Lecture and further discussion on burial archaeology in Sri Lanka

Dr. S. U. Deraniyagala

10.30-10.45 TEA
10.45-11.15 The burial ground at Ranchamadama:  archaeological and chronological evidence

Prof. Raj Somadeva

11.15-11.45 Archaeological records form Maradammaduwa and Nikawewa megalithic cemeteries

Mr. Ranjith Bandara

11.45-12.15 The Material Culture of the  Megalithic Burials in the Jaffna Peninsula

Prof. Selliah Krishnarajah

12.45-1.30 LUNCH
1.30-2.45 Understanding burial archaeological context in South India

Prof. K. Rajan + Discussion

2.45-3.00  TEA
3.00-3.45 Megalithic culture of central India and Vidarbha/Maharashtra

By Prof. Rabi Mohenty, Deccan College, Pune, India + Discussion

3.45-4.45 Final discussion: Grand challenges in conducting research on burial archaeological context in South Asia

Expertise from  India and Sri Lanka

End
21.12.2018 (Friday)
Start time 9.00 am
9.00-9.15 Introduction to reconstructing burial environment: experience on micro-archaeology

Dr. T. R. Premathilake

9.15-10.00 Reconstructing burial environment in southernmost Asia: integrated laboratory and microscopy approaches of archaeo-palynology in southernmost Asia

Dr. Anupama Krishnamurthy,

Mr. S. Prasad,

Mr. G. Orukaimani

10.00-10.15 TEA
10.15-10.45 Reconstructing burial environment: integrated microscopy approach of phytolith studies in southernmost Asia

Dr. T. R. Premathilake

10.45-11.15 Preservation issues related to micro-fossil content:- some experience from the sites (    ) in South India

Dr. Richard Selvasingh

11.15-12.15 Quantifying past land-cover in south India using a  pollen-vegetation modeling approach

Mrs. Navya and (Mr. J. Lazar)

12.15-1.15 LUNCH
1.15-2.00 Applications of GeoSpatial Technologies in Archaeological Research

Dr. G. Muthu Sankar + Discussion

2.00-2.30 Current progress on GIS application to Archaeology in Sri Lanka

Mrs. Resta Fernando

2.30-2.45 TEA
2.45-3.30 Poster Presentations
3.30-4.00 Final discussion with experts, and suggestions for future projects
End

 

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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). Twenty metal Buddha images which have been attributed to the Kandyan period and now deposited at the National Museum, Colombo were taken for this study (see appendix 1). These images have been classified as belonging to the Kandyan period mostly by art historical means such as iconography and iconometry which have undoubtedly been proved as very successful for this task.

A historical metal icon possesses two main styles as emphasized by Chandra Reedy (Reedy 1997: 15).

  1. Visual style
  2. Technological Style

The art historical method of classification uses the visual style of an icon as the main source of information in classifying an image. But in this study, it is shown that if we could combine the information gathered from visual styles of the icons by art historical means with the information obtained from their technological styles, it would be more accurate and could go for even further classifications which would not be possible based on the art historical means only.

Arjuna Thantilage
Senior Lecturer, Coordinator, Laboratory for Cultural Material Analysis (LCMA),
Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

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Hunugalagala Limestone Cave Excavation 2013

Hunugalagala is a limestone cave situated on the southern slope of the central highlands in Sri Lanka. It is a mighty rock formation that has been formed through million years ago. The surrounding area of this cave had been used by the foraging communities at least 4000 years ago. Grind-stones utilized for cereal processing and elegantly manufactured microlithic stone implements (quartz) are visible on the ground at several locations not far from the cave. Excavation in the Hunugalagala cave was initiated on 27th July 2013 and the archaeological findings are stunning. The artifacts so far unearthed include stone grind stones, painted potsherds (black lines on red background) and human/animal ? bones which are highly calcified. Hunugalagala is the only cave that has been selected for deep archaeological investigations in the history of the archaeology in Sri Lanka. The excavation team headed by Raj Somadeva (PhD), Professor in Archaeology of the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology in the University of Kelaniya. A Physical Anthropologist and a Geologist with several amateur archaeologists are accompanying the excavation.

 

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Hunugalagala Limestone Cave Excavation 2013

 

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Hunugalagala Limestone Cave Excavation 2013

 

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Hunugalagala Limestone Cave Excavation 2013

 

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Hunugalagala Limestone Cave Excavation 2013
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