Click for News Update: tweetsTrove

transCurrents Home

Traces of civilisation that existed 300 yrs before Vijaya’s arrival found in A’pura

by Cyril Basanayake, Anuradhapura corr, The


The research pit

Excavations at Atulu Nuvara (Inner City) of Anuradhapura have yielded evidence of an ancient civilization that had been engaged in the domestication of horses and cattle and wetland rice cultivation about 300 years before the arrival of Prince Vijaya.

Former Director General and present Advisor to the Department of Archaeology Dr. Siran Deraniyagala, under whose supervision excavations are being conducted, said the findings had been dated with the help of absolute dating techniques including Carbon-14 or radiocarbon dating system overseas.

Evidence of the ancient civilization had surfaced from a pit 22 feet below the ground level near the old Temple of Tooth Relic, old Vijayaba Palace and the Gedige Premises at Salgahawatte area in the Atulu Nuvara. The one-hundred-meter-long and 75-foot-wide pit had also produced evidence of the use of iron, earthen and ceramic ware, Dr Deraniygala told The Island.

Over 45 Carbon 14 tests had been conducted on the items unearthed from the pit, he said.

Dr. Deraniyagala said among the items found were potsherds bearing Brahmi inscriptions, teeth of horses, pebbles and fragments of gold jewellry. There was also evidence of brick walls, underground drains, wattle and daub structures and a Muragala (Guard Stone).

Dr. Deraniyagala said his research pit, which has layers producing a vertical outline of several different cultures, would not be filled but kept as it is as an exhibit after the conclusion of the on-going research project.

The research team comprises local experts and a group of research students of Prof. Kay Kohlmeyer from the Berlin University. Excavations Officer A. A. Wijeratne, Regional Excavations and Museums officer Gamini Navaratne, Archaeological Assistant Thusita Agalawatte were engaged in the excavations conducted under the supervision of Dr. Deraniyagala.

Dr. Deraniyagala said with the help of newfound evidence it could be concluded that there had been an advanced culture which was on par with any foreign culture in the region in 500 BC, 300 years before the arrival of Prince Vijaya, mentioned in Sri Lankachronicles.

The University of Berlin had assisted in the excavation as well as conservation of the artifacts found from the site, Dr Deraniyagala said.

courtesy: The Island


Yes, according to Historian Paul E. Peries there were 5 Ishwarams in Sri Lanka.

These archeological findings confirm that Tamils lived in the island as Historian Paul E. Peries said earlier.

And Hela Urumaya, is wrong to say. May be they could get involved in people smuggling with PM Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and brother Chamal Rajapaksa

Posted by: Dexter | September 13, 2009 08:48 PM

Why is this such a shock to everyone? We all know that the Veddahs are the original inhabitants of the island and have been there for thousands of years. The two main tribes that inhabited the island are well documented - Yaksas and Nagas.

Both tribes played a pivotal role in the evolution of the Sinhala race along with Vijaya's 700 initial settlers. The Sinhala you see today are the decendents of the fusion between Nagas/Yakhas and great King Vijaya's men.

Go to will still see the Veddha's in the original form and practising their ancient they speak Sinhala the language which naturally evolved as part of the 'fusion'.

Jaya Sri!

Posted by: DamnFools | September 13, 2009 10:42 PM

Tamil Kings ruled Kumari Kaandam (Lemuria continent) way before Vijaya arrived from Bihar.... see

Posted by: Naan Kadavul | September 13, 2009 11:55 PM

Sri Lanka was inhabited when Vijaya landed in Sri Lanka, whether it was in the Puttalam area, down south or in the Jaffna area as variously claimed. This was only an event in the history of Sri Lanka though given undue prominence given the need to associate it with events relating to the Buddha. It is therefore not surprising that a civilization existed and Vijaya and his companions merely joined in and apparently took control.

Posted by: Ram2009 | September 14, 2009 05:40 AM

The Sinhala race started after the so-called arrival of Vijaya from the Bengali region and his then co-habitation with the indigenous rakshaki Kuveni is what goes as established history. Now it is learnt there has been a developed culture here centuries before his arrival.

I hope no harm will befall that decent gentleman-academic Dr. Sriyan Deraniyagala for bringing to fore something akin to what Darwin caused excitement to the word of his time with his own iconoclastic discovery. Dr. Deraniyagala's distinguished predecessor Dr. Senerath Paranavitana had a rough time from the extremist fringe here for some of his honest archeological findings – athough international experts agreed with him.

As Dr. Paranavitana then told friends one cannot be an archeologist-historian and pseudo-nationalist-patriot simultaneously during politically-charged times. Despite the objections from the ecclesiastical world Darwin’s scientific based theory was to be vindicated later.

Those Tamil letters in stone-carvings, the similarity in agricultural practice, irrigation, dress, culinary and eating habits are only some of the many features that irrefutably suggest we were all part of a composite culture in the geographic region encompassing the present Sri Lanka and the Southern part of India millennia past. This includes the great Eeashwaram Temples of worship in the region Prof Paul Peiris and others made mention of.

I was impressed in my last visit to the Ajanta-Ellora caves of the striking similarity in the rock paintings there and Sigiriya – all of which could have come from the same artistes. The recent book of Dr. Rajah de Silva suggests, as opposed to the wide belief Sigirya was the Rock Fortress of Kasappa, it has really been
a monastery for monks.

At any rate, the question today is do we celebrate the commonality of ancient culture between two countries and peoples and further advance intellectual honesty or do we viscerally distance ourselves claiming a totally exclusive history and culture to satisfy today's political agendas.


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | September 14, 2009 10:04 AM

*** These archeological findings confirm that Tamils lived in the island as Historian Paul E. Peries said earlier. ***

*** Those Tamil letters in stone-carvings, the similarity in agricultural practice, irrigation, dress, culinary and eating habits are only some of the many features that irrefutably suggest we were all part of a composite culture in the geographic region encompassing the present Sri Lanka ****

Dexter, and My Good Friend Senguttavan....

Can Either of you two GENIUSES please show me where in the above article about the findings does it say that the that Ancient Civilization was a TAMIL one????? There is NO MENTION of TAMIL as the Ethnicity of this Civilization...

Face it, while it is True that VEDDHAS were here on the Island before Sinhalese , TAMILS CERTAINLY WERE NOT... And not as any Civilization.... because you really can't count the occasional Tamil Fisherman who got passed out drunk and floated to Sri Lankan across the Palk Straits in his catamaran.

I love the way TAMILS love to project themselves as the PURE BREED of People and hence their Stubborn Ignorant and STUPID Pride in preserving what really amounts to nothing more than a population Mix of Southern Indian Gene pool that possesses only a common Language.

Posted by: Devinda Fernando | September 14, 2009 03:23 PM


The stone-carvings in A'pura and Pollonaruwa are in Tamil as I saw - and perhaps you did, which is proof Tamils were there. Unless you suggest it is Tamil but
Sinhala Kings spoke and wrote in Tamil - that is OK with me.

Tell me, what if Tamils were here long before the arrival of your man Vijaya (which is more in line with history)The guy is really Vijay Singh, which your lot Sinhalised to
Wijesinghe. Which makes that blood-drinking Kuveni Mrs. wijesinghe, like the poor thing next door.

Only thing is my neighbour old Mrs W is a fair, cultured lady. My love to you is not going to diminish one bit less, dear boy.


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | September 15, 2009 10:46 PM

Who cares about what type of people lived many thousands of years ago. what matters is Sinhala race out number other races. all races should learn to live in harmony.
Past cannot change the present but present can change the future.

Posted by: Chris Fernando | September 16, 2009 06:33 PM

*** The stone-carvings in A'pura and Pollonaruwa are in Tamil as I saw - and perhaps you did, which is proof Tamils were there. ***


Specifically Which writings are you speaking of? As Usual we have to listen to your Vague Rhetorical Nonsense... There are no TAMIL Writings that have been Carbon Dated before The Sinhalese... That is the INCONVENIENT FACT of the MATTER....

Now feel free to Rag on the Sinhala Buddhists and tell me your REVISED LTTE and TAMIL NATIONALIST History which has been passed down from Tamil to Tamil via the Internet and the Old Ladies Gossip Circles... ok?

Now back to this matter...the Article above speaks of a Newly discovered Civilization... yet this Newly discovered site mentions nothing of it being TAMIL... unless now you are going to tell me that you know something these scientists dont?

And why does it matter you ask? Well I thought a Tamil Racist such as yourself would find that obvious....? It is to show you that your BOGUS FREEDOM STRUGGLE and your BOGUS FIGHT for A TAMIL ONLY ENCLAVE in the NORTH based on your Historic Roots being older than the Sinhalese is simply blown out of the water. You See.... Tamils don't have a Claim to the North as their Traditional Homeland over the Sinhalese.... simply because we were there before you. So What that translates to is that Tamils INVADED and STOLE our TRADITIONAL HOMELANDS in the NORTH.... so your TAMIL COMMUNALIST ARGUMENTS of the North being your entitlement is directly contradicted by the fat that we too have a claim to it,...and our is MORE VALID than yours...

Got the Picture?

Posted by: Devinda Fernando | September 18, 2009 03:29 AM

Thank you, Devinda. How is that everytime I read you I am reminded of Josef Goebells, KMP Rajaratne and the more recent Chemical Ali? You have clearly an initiated background. You’ll remember Alex Haley’s hit novel “Roots” that was made into an unforgettable TV series that smashed the ratings. This resulted in many in the West (Whites and Blacks) going in a scramble to different countries in search of their own roots and family trees. Virtually the entire English-speaking countries – and I read other races too – got drawn into this vogue then of discovering their ancestry. Now, if you’ll do the same thing you will discover before your ancestors shed their race and religion during the post-Portugese period – in the same tradition that Karu J and his band of serial-parachutists continued recently (also for similar reasons) – you will find a very Tamil name (of that period) in your family. No different from that lot called the Neelaperumals - in what is now the Gampaha District - where they did the 360 degrees turn - and now are voted in by the millions of racists as quintessential Sinhala Buddhists. That is the proof for you. Vaarungal! Vaarungal! Sahodharare.


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | September 20, 2009 08:32 AM


Instead of reverting back to your usual drivel about HITLER and NAZISM Comparisons, and trying to demean me with your veiled insults of my mixed Portuguese roots... (I know how you TAMIL ELITISTS covet the Pure Blood) Please answer my Question...


Feel free to answer me anytime... and feel free to cite a source or two (other than or

Posted by: Devinda Fernando | September 21, 2009 11:07 AM


Personal insults are not in my portfolio. Do be assured I often appreciate your strident intervention on behalf of the Sinhalese – although in many instances you seem off track. The evidence you ask to confirm Tamil presence here prior to the arrival of the Portugese and long, long before is there for all to see – in historical books/manuscripts, in stone carvings, in folk songs and many more.

Scholars like Drs Sriyan Deraniyagala, Sudarshan Seneviratne and the late Prof. Paranavitharna have documented all of them. Men like Prof Gananath Obeysekera (formerly Princeton U) have lived with Tamil-Telugu speaking gypsies, old settlers from India in the EP to study their folk-songs, language etc in their passion to search for the truth.

They are great Lankan academics highly respected by Indian and globally reknowned archeologists-historians. They will very likely share their knowledge with you if this is for the purpose of academic advancement and not for some JHU/JVP/PNM nonsense.

But you will be dissappointed that there was no Sinhalese here at the time Buddhism arrived as the Mahavamsa shows. Need further proof? Your problem is you have chosen not to accept the reality in your pseudo-nationalistic avatar that has blinded you in many areas.

As they say, one can wake up a sleeping man but it is a different matter to wake up a man pretending to sleep.


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | September 22, 2009 01:26 PM

Re the historical finds in Anuradhapura,Vijaya marrying a local princess after landing in SL only proves that people existed before the Bengalis arrived.The archealogical findings of a 2600 year settlement with Brahmi insriptions indicates Hindu (Tamil ) influence.If the language spoken was other than Tamil, then it is a mystey that certainly needs to be solved. The Mahavamsa swears by Vijaya who irrefutably was a Hindu and his descendents 300 years later, influenced by Buddhism embraced it.Undoubtedly the Sinhalese culture is an off shoot of Hinduism with Budhha and his ardent follower Asoka the Great both born as Hindus.In a nutshell,the Sinhala-Tamil impasse is a clash of languages and not of religions."
Narayanswamy Sankaran

Posted by: Narayanswamy sankaran | September 27, 2009 12:27 PM

Narayanswamy sankaran | September 27, 2009 12:27 PM
We are seeing two leaders. One fought a war and won, saw the resultant destruction and decided to do away with violence. The other one too won the war, but still hell bent on to cause as much damage as possible on helpless public while claiming them as his subjecs. Tamils are supposed to deal with the latter kind of leaders.

Posted by: K.Easwaran | September 28, 2009 03:40 PM

Mr Eswaran
On hindsight,would it not have been beneficial for the SL Tamil speaking people in the northern and eastern areas if VP had accepted Chandrika's peace proposals,however flawed itmight have been ? What an inglorious end for a hero comparable to Rajaraja Cholan and some of his successors who had conquored the emerald isle upto its land end in the south !!
Narayanswamy Sankaran

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2009 10:39 AM

Post a comment

(The comment may need to be approved by Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting; generally approved/posted if they are not abusive of the topic as well as the author and/or another commenter.)

(Please write the comment in paragraphs if its long and allow space between paragraphs, for easier reading by others)

Recent Posts on TC