Three inscriptions discovered in Delft Island

The marine archaeologists from the Maritime Archaeology Unit (MAU) of Central Cultural Fund (CCF) established in Galle in their archaeological explorations carried out in Delft Island in the North of Sri Lanka in August this year have discovered three inscriptions that have not been hitherto revealed.

Three inscriptions

inscriptions discovered in Delft Island
Brahmi script


Tamil Inscription 01
Tamil Inscription 01
Tamil Inscription 02
Tamil Inscription 02

It has been observed that many archaeological ruins and artifacts could be seen scattered all over the island. Among them are remains of three ancient stupas of different sizes. The three inscriptions could be seen among the paved stones around the biggest of the three stupas which has a diameter of 13.54 meters and circumference of 31.93 meters.


Small Degaba
Small Degaba


Large Degaba
Large Degaba


Two of the three inscriptions are in Tamil script and the other is in Brahmi script. According to scientific data of the scripts the two Tamil inscriptions belong to the 14 – 15 centuries while the inscription having Brahmi script would date back to the 1st or 2nd century say calligraphists. According to the portion of the inscription that is legible the old Brahmi inscription had been written in Sinhalese prakrit language says Lecturer of calligraphy and epigraph at Rajarata University Chandima Ambanwala.


Galle Maritime Archaeology Unit - Research Team
Galle Maritime Archaeology Unit – Research Team
Chandima Ambanwala

The discovery is an important revelation among the discoveries in the archaeological sector carried out in recent times and further studies are ongoing regarding the script found in the inscriptions.

Note and Photographs are by Mahinda Karunarathan

Mahinda Karunarathna and Chandima Ambanwala are co-founders of


  1. I do remember the bases of the stupas from when I first visited Delft with Vernon Abeysekara in 1968 or 69. I still have photos of us both arriving at the island’s jetty!!! Ayiho – happy happy memories!!!

  2. Just seen your name. Hi Anuradha? You OK? A happier man now than when we first met?? I am!!! I’ve put in an Abstract Proposal for the First Archeological International Symposium in December in Univ of Rajaratha on earliest libraries in S Lanka and urging that more needs to be done to discover where they were. Ashley de Vos and Chandra Wikramagamage have some theories but we need archeologically-worked evidences to obtain proofs! Best wishes – Russell.


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