New archaeological sites emerge from ruins of war

by Priyanka Kurugala, Lanka Daily News, May 12, 2010

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- A number of archaeological sites that have been destroyed during the 30 year old war and at present place of historic significance are been destroyed by unauthorized constructions, said Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera.

“I have identified 30 destroyed archaeological sites, in the North,” the Thera told the Daily News.

The Ven Thera said at the Poonari junction in Mannar a large ruined Buddhist Monastery has been destroyed when building a road to the Tiruketheswaram kovil. Buddhist statues and Bodhisathwa statues have also been damaged. The ruins could be seen dumped with garbage near roads.

Ven Medhanandha Thera said that he has also found a part of a destroyed epigraph. The characters on the epigraph are very clear while destroyed stone pillars and ancient buildings have also been found.

Nagathala is situated two and a half kilometers away from Mannar. There are some ruins of Buddhist temples which had been destroyed.

“There is a land in Poonari Junction where a church is planned to be built. While digging to construct a toilet, an ancient brick wall has been discovered.”

The Ven Thera further said nearly half an acre of land with archaeological ruins are visible at Aalankulam in Thunukai division.

There is a large Dagoba which has been destroyed and a pit has formed there. In Pudukuduirippu, Ampakamam and Oalaimadu also several acres of Buddhist archaeological ruins, could be seen. All are without any protection, at present. There are no records about these ruins. Some Buddha statues are protected by the army. During the war period some stone pillars were used to make bunkers by the LTTE. They had put concreted structures, Ven Ellawala Medhananda Thera emphasized.

The Archaeological Department should pay full attention on the conservation of the Buddhist heritage of pre-war era, the Ven Thera said.