[Sinhala Ravaya group attempted to destroy Kuragala Muslim religious places today]
Kuragala in Balangoda is the oldest archaeological site found so far in the Intermediate Zone of the country and as such the Department of Archaeology has taken all steps to protect the site , Director General of Archaeology Dr Senarath Dissanayake said.
Addressing a media conference held at the Government Information Department today (04) Dr. Dissanayake made a request to the public not to create religious issues based on Kuragala Site protection activities.
He further said that according to the radio-carbon dating done by the US institute using sophisticated technologies, the Kuragala site had five layers of human habitations from 16,000 to 6,000 years before the present age (BPA). “This is the oldest date for a site inhabited. This seconds the previous first which was found at Bellanbendipelessa. The Bellanbendipelessa was dated 13,000 years BPA”, he added.
The Department of Archaeology has conducted extensive excavations in the Kuragala site from April to December last year. The caves at the Kuragala site had been used as a Buddhist monastery during the period between 3rd Century BC to First Century AD, Dr Dissanayake said. Some of the caves had been inhabited by the humans in the pre-historic period.
During the excavations, the archaeologists had found stone tools, fossilized bone fragments and a complete human skeleton which was later sent to the University of Oxford for DNA and other testing, Dr Dissanayake said, adding that the skeleton would be returned to Sri Lanka once the scientific testing is over.
The other most striking discovery from the site was the evidence that humans lived in the Kuragala caves had close links with coastal areas. Among the items found were sea shells, shells of clams living in the sea, indicating that the humans who lived there during the prehistoric times had consumed them.
The Department of Archaeology would conduct further excavations this year too to study the settlement patterns of the prehistoric man, Dr. Dissanayake said and called upon the public not to create religious issues based on these activities.
Police use water cannons to disperse protesters
Police used water cannons to disperse a group of protesters who attempted to forcibly enter the Kuragala archeological site in Balangoda a short while ago.
Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara told Daily Mirror the protest was organized by the Sihala Raavaya organisation. Although an enjoining order had been issued against holding the protest by the Balangoda Magistrate Courts, the protestors had violated the order and attempted to enter the site by force.
“We have used water pressure to disperse the protestors. None have been injured and no arrests have been made so far,” he said while adding however, further investigations are continuing in order to arrest the organizers who violated the court order. (Lakna Paranamanna)