Prehistoric Settlements in Sri Lanka

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Prehistoric Settlements in Sri Lanka
Prehistoric Settlements in Sri Lanka

Africa is considered the centre of human evolution. The migration of Homo sapiens from country to country expanding their distribution is discussed through the “Out of Africa Theory”. According to the findings, Homo sapiens have migrated to Asia from Eastern Africa and through Asia to Sri Lanka. Homo sapiens have travelled through the Indian coast and arrived in Sri Lanka approximately more than 70 000 years ago.

The initial settlements of these newly arrived Homo sapiens have probably been established in coastal areas in Sri Lanka. Depending on the dating of the stone tools discovered from the Pathirajawela site in Bundala, Dr S. U. Deraniyagala states his opinion that the Homo sapiens have reached Sri Lanka approximately 125 000 years before present.

The prehistoric period of Sri Lanka is considered as the 125 000 B. C. – 1000 B. C. based on data and information obtained through material factors such as faunal remains, floral remains, stone tools, pollen and soil layers. The prehistoric age consists of the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. The prehistoric man of Sri Lanka was given the name “Balangoda Man” by Mr. P. E. P. Deraniyagala. According to Dr S. U. Deraniyagala and Kenneth Kennedy, a prehistoric man who lived in Sri Lanka is Homo sapiens.

The prehistoric anthropological sites have been discovered from different regions of the island. The prehistoric man had established settlements in different climatic zones and vegetation types in Sri Lanka.

[Fig. 01] Explored Sites
[Fig. 01] Explored Sites
[Fig. 02] Climatic zones of Sri Lanka
[Fig. 02] Climatic zones of Sri Lanka

Evidence implies that prehistoric men who settled initially in coastal regions have moved further inland over time. Incensement of population, food and drinkable water requirements, shelter, security, environmental conditions, curiosity as well as personal preference may have resulted in the inland exploration of prehistoric man.

[Fig. 03] Some Important Prehistoric Sites and discovered remains
[Fig. 03] Some Important Prehistoric Sites and discovered remains
[Fig. 04] Prehistoric Sites in Sri Lanka
[Fig. 04] Prehistoric Sites in Sri Lanka
 

Narrative: I. H. Vitanage
Proofreading: Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi, Sonali Premarathne
Image source: Internet

Cited Literature

Deraniyagala, P. E. P. (1958). An Open Air Habitation Site of Homo sapiens balangodensis. Spolia Zeylanica, Bulletin of the National Museums of Sri Lanka. 28(2): p. 223-260

Deraniyagala, S. U. (1992). The Prehistory of Sri Lanka: An ecological perspective. Memoir 8, 2nd ed. Archaeological Department, Colombo.

Katupotha, J. & Wijayananda, N. P. (1989). Chronology of Inland Shell Deposits on the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka. Quaternary Research 32, p. 222-228

Katupotha, J. (1994). Geological Significance of Marine Molluscan Beds: Evidence from Southern Coastal Zone of Sri Lanka. J. Natn. Sci. Coun. Sri Lanka 1994 22(2): p. 157-187

Premathilake, R. & Risberg, J. (2003). Late Quaternary climate history of the Horton Plains, central Sri Lanka. Quaternary Science Reviews. 22 (2003): p. 1525-1541

Premathilake, R. & Hunt, C. O. (2017). Late Pleistocene Humans used Rice in Sri Lanka: Phytolith

Investigation of the Deposits at Fahien Rock Shelter. Global Journal of Human-Social Science, 17 (2). p. 19-29

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