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 Post subject: Pre-Historic Life in Sri Lanka
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:52 pm 
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Pre-Historic Life in Sri Lanka

He was so lucky. He lived when there were no invaders, deforestation or pollution. He lived and enjoyed the best Sri Lanka had, including the breathtaking natural beauty.

By Singha Puthra
Source: From Glory to the Third world


700000 BC - Humans in Lanka :

Archeologists claim that Sri Lanka was definitely inhabited by the humans by 700,000 BC. By 500,000 BC the humans had started to use fire.

123,000BC- Oldest human found in Lanka :

Pathirajawela in the Deep South. The oldest Lankan human's remains and his stone tools were recovered in Pathirajawela in Deep South, near Ambalantota, by a student from Bundala Central School. This Lankan had lived 20,000 years before the Niandathal inhabited the earth. It has been estimated, at an international average, that the population density for Lanka, at the time was 0.8-1.5 per SqKm in dry zone and 0.1 in wet zone. They had lived in groups of 1-2 families, not in large groups due to scarcity of food. With this proof of pre-historic settlement in Lanka, Patirajawela also exposed a flake and stone tool industry belonging to 125,000 to 75,000 BC. This meant that the Lankans had already started their long journey towards civilization.

80000 BC- Lions, Rinocerous and Hippos from an excavation in Ratnapura District:

Archaeologists have found the remains of animals. That included a hippopotamus with six incisor teeth, a rhinoceros, and a lion. Along with these animal remains, stone artifacts comprising, typically, large choppers and flakes of quartz and chert, have been found. However, apart from a human calotte from a gem pit near Ellawala, no human remains have been discovered yet from the Ratnapura.

80000 BC - 2nd oldest human found in Lanka, Bundala in the Deep South:

These people made tools of quartz (and a few on chert). Apart from such tools, no other remains had survived the ravages of time and tropical weathering.

30500 BC -

Fa-Hien cave, 3rd oldest Lankan human proves world's oldest proof of consumption of rice, Kurahan, salt:

Female body-remains found in Yatagampitiya near BulathSinhala, proved the consumption of rice, kurahan, and salt. The Archaeologists named her Kalu-Menika. It was proof that 20,000 years before the world, Lankans have gone agricultural. It was also the first anatomically modern human found in whole of South Asia.

Pahiyanagala is also the largest natural cave in South Asia.

Over 150 feet in height, 282 feet long, Pahiyangala can accomodate over 3000 humans. In 600 AD, the visiting Chinese monk Fa-Hien lived here for sometime.

28500 BC -

Batadomba Lena near Kuruvita, the Balangoda man, stronger & taller:

These remains, and the following Belilena and BellanBendi Palassa, have been subjected to detailed analysis. These anatomically modern prehistoric humans in Sri Lanka are referred to as Balangoda Man. Some males were 174 cm tall, and some females were 166 cm tall. This is considerably taller than the present-day Sri Lankans. The bones also are robust. They had thick skull-bones and prominent brow-ridges, depressed noses, heavy jaws and short necks. The teeth were conspicuously large. These traits have survived among the Veddas and certain unmixed Sinhalese. Balangoda Man is regarded as the original Lankan.

28500 BC - Lankans live in Mannar, Horton plains to Bundala, in two family units:

By this time Lankans were settled in every corner of Sri Lanka, from the damp and cold High Plain's such as Maha-eliya (Horton Plains) to the arid lowlands of Mannar and Vilpattu, to the steamy rainforests of Sabaragamuwa. Their camps were small, rarely exceeding 50 sq.m in area, thus suggesting occupation by not more than a couple of families at most. This life-style could not have been too different from that described for the Vaddas of Sri Lanka, the Kadar, Malapantaram and Chenchus of India, the Andaman lslanders and the Semang of Malaysia. They had been moving from place to place, on an annual cycle of looking for food.

28500 BC: Lankans have started business between the coast and the hills :

Beads of shells have also been discovered deep inside the country. Discovery of marine shells in inland sites such as Batadomba-lena, points to an extensive network of contacts between the coast and the inland.

28500 BC- Lankans have burial customs :

Balangoda Man had a custom to bury his dead underneath his camp floor. He selected certain bones for this purpose. At Ravana Ella cave and Fa Hien Lena, red ochre had been ceremonially smeared on the bones.

28500 BC- Geometric microliths (believed to be first used by the Europeans in 12,500BC) are found in Batadomba Lena in the tool kit of Balangoda Man, 16,000 years earlier than Europe first used it. :

The tool kit of Balangoda Man is distinguished by the occurrence of geometric microliths, comprising small (less than 4 cm long) flakes of quartz and (rarely) chert fashioned into stylised lunate, triangular and trapezoidal forms. Such geometric microliths have traditionally been considered the hallmark of the Mesolithic period as first defined in Europe. The earliest dates for the geometric microlithic tradition in Europe are around 12,000 BC. Hence it came as a surprise when such tools were found as early as 28,500 BC at Batadomba-lena, 28,000 BC at two coastal sites in Bundala and over 27,000 BC at Beli-lena. Sri Lanka has yielded evidence of this sophisticated technological phase some 16,000 years earlier than in Europe. However, the geometric microliths were discovered in various parts of Africa, such as Zaire and southern Africa, from periods in excess of 27,000 BC. Europe was late in manifesting this techno-tradition due to as yet undefined reasons.

27000 BC- Beli Lena at Kitulgala :

There is evidence from Beli-lena that salt had been brought in from the coast at a date in excess of 27,000 BC.

15000 BC - Horton plains :

Agro subsistence strategy 7000 years before the world did. There is pollen evidence from the Horton Plains for herding and the farming of barley and oats by 15,000 BC and also around 8,000 BC. The new evidence from the Horton Plains is of great importance. Ghar-i-Mar and Aq Kupruk in Afghanistan and Mehrgarh in Pakistan were known to have had a Neolithic subsistence strategy by 7,000-6,000 BC. There is tentative evidence of herding in northern Rajasthan by 7,000 BC, of rice and pottery at Koldihwa, U.P. in India by 5,000 BC, and perhaps cereal management/farming in the Nilgiri Hills of South India by 8,000 BC. Therefore Lankans had proof of Agro subsistence strategy 7000 years before the world did.

15000 BC - SuriyaKanda near Ambilipitiya, use of necklaces & needles :

The female body parts recovered by archaeologists proved the use of needles (made of rabbit bones), and necklace made of a see-thru material like glass but as hardy as plastic. The Archaeologists have named her Nimali.

10500 BC - Alu-lena near Attanagoda, Kegalle More human remains were discovered here.

6500 BC - Bellan-Bendi Pelessa near Embiliyapitiya:

Secret of the Strong Bones Bellan-Bandi Palassa near Embiliyapitiya is an open-air site of human remains. The well-preserved evidence from these caves showed that Lankans were having a very wide range of food-plants and animals. Prominent among them were canarium nuts, wild breadfruit and wild bananas. It also showed that Lankans ate almost any type animal, from elephants to snakes, rats, snails and small fish. This well-balanced diet must be the secret behind the robusticity of the human skeletal remains. The degeneration of the bone, caused by a specialized starchy diet and a sedentary life style, was yet to come.

6300 BC - Dorawaka-Kanda cave near Kegalle:

Geometric Microlithic industry & pottery The transition from the Mesolithic Balangoda Culture to the protohistoric early Iron Age has not been adequately documented in Sri Lanka. The relevant deposits have been destroyed due to the extraction of fertilizer from prehistoric cave habitations. Recent excavations in the cave of Dorawaka-kanda near Kegalle could resolve this problem. According to the excavator, W.H. Wijayapala, there are indications at this site of pottery (together with stone stools) being used as early as 6300. By this time, Dorawaka-lena shelter had proved a geometric microlithic industry. It also proved a cereal and a crude red pottery by 5,300 BC, and Black and Red Ware by 3,100 BC.

6000 BC - Lankan city on Mahamevuna Uyana, Proof of Horses :

35 feet under the present Mahamevuna Uyana in Anuradapura, the remains of a huge city dated to 9000-6000BC was uncovered by Archeologists in 2001 AD. It was proof that Lankans had used Horses before the North Indians such as prince Vijaya came in 483BC.

6000 BC - PalleMalala site, first proof of a pre-historic shell midden in the country, fireplace, grinding stone, burial room, Rough clothing :

A group of pre-historic Lankans set up camp at a dried-up lagoon in Hambantota. There they lived, hunted and fished for food and buried the dead under the very same ground. They hunted sambhur, deer and wildboar with crude stone and sharpened bone tools. The meat was roasted over an open hearth. Fish and reptile meat was a common diet. The bones were ground on a large flat stone to extract the marrow. The skins were dried to make rough clothing. Animal remains found in the living floor belonged to as many as 50 species including deer, hare, mouse, wild boar and kulumeema (Bos indica). A primitive grinding stone and vestiges of a fireplace, probably for roasting molluscs, have been found. A meter below the living floor was the burial floor. Seven adult skeletons have been found buried. A shell midden is a mound of shells created when pre-historic humans threw the shells of animals such as oysters and mussels after they had consumed them in a particular spot. There would have been at least 15 people originally dwelling at this single site, considering the size of the shell midden.

6000 BC - PalleMalala site indicates the origins of MahaSona beliefs :

The discovery in the burial floor, of the skull of a wild boar with its tusks intact, next to a human skull suggested some kind of a burial ritual. In Sinhalese folk traditions, Mahasona has been depicted as having the head of a boar. Veddas still have this practice as the kirikoraha ceremony, using the head of a boar, and offering tribute to Kande Yaka, the Vedda's god of hunting.

6000 BC - Similarity of PalleMalala man with the rest of the world:

Lankan is in the forefront of the human development The lifestyles of the stone age Lankan could not have been any different from others who lived elsewhere in the world. There are striking similarities in the stone tools found anywhere in the world belonging to the same age. Burial practices too appear to have similarities. The human bodies found in Pallemalala have been buried in a curious folded position where the knees and elbows had been folded towards the body in burial. Similar burials in 'folded' position have been unearthed from sites elsewhere in the world as well. This proved that the Lankan was in the very front of the race for the human progress. There has been frequent migration between the landmass that was Sri Lanka at the time and the Indian continent, across the Palk Strait. That probably helped the Lankan to check what the other humans were doing.

4000 BC - A pre-historic grave :

Archeologists had found a pre-historic gravesite near IbbanKatuwa Weva in Dambulla.

3500 BC - The boat that could carry over 150 passengers, is found in Lanka :

On Attanagalle Oya, a ferry capable of carrying over 150 people, was discovered. This proved the existence of a well-established water-based transport system.

3000 BC - Sigiriya is considered the AlakaMandava of the Ravana times :

Historians and Archeologists claim that Sigirya must be the AlakaMandava of Ravana, based on oldest archaeological evidence found on site.


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