Ancient cemetery preserved for posterity

By P. Gunathilaka

There are many places of historical significance in Sri Lanka that should be of interest to both foreigners and locals alike.

However due to poor maintenance many of these historic sites are now forgotten. A cemetery in Ibbankatuwa in the Dambulla area is one such site which has fortunately been preserved by the Archaeological Department. It is located along the Kurunegala-Dambulla highway about 300 metres from Ibbankatuwa.

This centuries old cemetery shows that even in those times, the dead were respected. The structures here are similar to the ones we see in today’s cemeteries. The graves are enclosed with stone slabs and covered over with another slab and these remain despite the passage of time. According to former Archaeological Commissioner Shiran Deraniyagala, besides the burial places, human bones and other paraphernalia such as equipment used then have been found.

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