Sri Lanka’s archaeologists are searching for the Balangoda Man or Homo sapiens balangodensis, which is the island’s anatomical equivalent to modern homo sapiens that lived 30000 years ago in Sri Lanka.
The Balangoda man is the earliest reliably dated record of anatomically modern humans in South Asia, referring to anatomically modern Homo sapiens remains from sites near Balangoda that were responsible for the island’s Mesolithic Balangoda Culture. The recent excavations of Raj Somadeva covered three climatic zones surrounding Balangoda and focused on how the Sri Lankan proto-historic man adapted to the climatic changes, transition of technology, subsistence and cognitive skills 12000 years ago onward.
The general conception is that Sri Lanka did not have a technologically advanced human presence before the arrival of the Aryans from India. The latest finds at the sites: in the Ratnapura district – “Udupiyangalge” cave in Kalthota and “Paragahamaditta” cave in Panana, Balangoda, and “Alugalge” cave in Illukkumbura, Meddekanda in the Hambantota district, revealed that the earliest human presence in the country has been in the mountainous regions, in the central hills.
The researchers analysed the finds using radiocarbon dating, Beta Analytics, optical stimulation and other technologies in Sri Lanka and overseas, including USA. Finds from the sites scattered through out the island include grinding tools, basic stone weapons, curved steel knife, a shark tooth pendant, jewellery made from colourful stone beads, dating back as far as 6000 BC. Excavations also revealed that the early inhabitants used fire and that the early men from hunter-gatherer societies slowly adapted to eating processed grains collected from the forest.
In one of the caves a terracotta sculpture of a dingo was found, a dog breed found in Australia, indicating Sri Lanka had visitors from across the sea and these men traded goods with the islanders. The experts also reveal that there is a black hole after the Stone Age and that this new research is aimed to unravel the mysteries of the inhabitants of Sri Lanka during that period, based on scientific evidence.
(after Sunday Observer)