Samples of human skeletal remains unearthed from a Matale mass grave would be handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department to be sent to laboratories at the Institute of Archaeology, Beijing, China for radiocarbon dating, Judicial Medical Officer of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Dr. Ajith Jayasena said yesterday.
Dr. Jayasena, who participated in the exhumation of skeletal remains, said that the bones had been dated preliminarily to the 1986-90 period by a team of local experts led by Prof. Raj Somadeva of the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeological Research. The samples of human bones would be sent to Beijing for international level confirmation so that they would be tested using sophisticated radiocarbon dating systems. The second verification had been permitted by the Courts.
Dr. Jayasena said that teeth found along with human skeletal remains were being studied at the Forensic Medicine Institute in Colombo and the report was due within the next six days. The report is expected to be submitted to the Matale Magistrate’s Court on Nov. 04.
The first signs of the mass grave were noticed when a group of labourers dug up a section of the Matale Hospital grounds on Nov. 26, 2012, to construct a bio gas unit. Subsequent excavations led to the discover of skeletal remains belonging to 155 persons besides metal rings, coins and some pieces of charcoal. Relatives and family members of those who went missing during the JVP’s second armed struggle in 1987/89 period have so far submitted 64 affidavits to the Matale Magistrate’s Court.
By Nimal Gunathilake,Matale Corr