Monday, August 5, 2013

Cave visit @ Diggalge,Ratganga.

Cave visit @ Diggalge,Ratganga.
Date: 27th October 2012.
Participants: Dr.Weli,Dana,Prageeth,Nayomi,Mahesh and Saman

Status of Speleology in Sri Lanka; from 4th Century AD to 21st Century

Status of Speleology in Sri Lanka; from 4th Century AD to 21st Century 

Weliange W.S1, Armstrong Osborne2, Pathmakumara Jayasingha3, Dandeniya R.S4 & Prageeth Algiriya1
1Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya
2The University of Sydney, NSW 2006
3Research Laboratory, Central Cultural Fund, No 11, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
4 BGJF Consultancy Services, 35A ½, Sunethradewi Road Kohuwala, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island characterized by mostly Precambrian metamorphic and Miocene limestone rocks and has a very high density of caves. Speleology, the scientific study of caves, has been identified as an important discipline that should be done parallel to the other archaeological research. The earliest written records on caves are evidenced by cave inscriptions date back to the 3rd century BC and also found in historical books such as Deepawamsa (4th Century AD), Mahawamsa - the Great Chronicle (5th Century AD) and in the Vamsatthapakasini which is an elaboration of the Mahawamsa. Since then various historical legends have mentioned about caves. It is recorded that foreign scholars had made expeditions to caves from the early 19th century. Explorations and excavations done in the middle 20th century have added more information to the cave literature. In the late 20th century several international expeditions took place for exploring Sri Lankan caves. In 2009 the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya (PGIAR), started researching Sri Lankan caves with the collaboration of the University of Sydney, Australia. So far we have investigated around 20 caves located in wet, intermediate and dry zones. It was well noticed that geology and climatic factors prevailing on a particular area affect the formation of caves of Sri Lanka. The common formation processes identified are weathering and erosion of bed rocks and amalgamation of boulders on the gneissic terrain. We introduced the first ever classification for caves in the country based on lithology, morphology and genesis. Speleotherms in gneissic caves which are mostly siliceous were found to be very unique. Also it was recorded that the cave fauna consisted of mainly insects, but mammals such as michrochiropterans, amphibians and reptiles were also found. Sri Lankan cave sediments have played a major role in the reconstruction of paleo-environmental changes and in the context of prehistory of the country. Speleological research is going to be a part of studies of biodiversity and geology. Therefore, several new fields such as cave mapping, cave ecology, cave geology and cave tourism are branching off as cave research is progressing.
Key words: cave fauna, cave geology, speleology, Sri Lanka

Cave visit @ Hunugalagala ,Haldummulla

Date: 29th October 2012.
Participants: Dr.Weli,Dana,Prageeth,Nayomi,Mahesh and Saman

Friday, August 2, 2013

Space management in caves; an architectural perspective

Space management in caves; an architectural perspective

Dandeniya A.S1, Dinesh D.Dewage2 & W.S. Weliange3

1BGJF Consultancy Services, 35A ½, Sunethradewi Road, Kohuwala, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
2Departement of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
3Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, 407, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka

Corresponding Author;

Caves and cave shelters were the initial home for prehistoric people. Caves and cave shelters have one uninterrupted space defined by rock walls but spatial segregation would have occurred for catering variety of activities which could be ranging from highly personal to very social. During the ongoing Speleology project carried out by the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology of the University of Kelaniya, space management in caves by prehistoric people were imagined based on the basic behavior such as cooking, eating, chatting, playing, love making and kindergarten of the prehistoric people. Five caves among the 10 studied namely Sthreepura Lena Cave (06°49' 54.6'' N; 80°22' 27.8''E) and Divaguhawa Lena Cave in Kuruvita (06°49' 50.1'' N; 80°22' 23.8'' E), Vavul Guhava Cave in Kosgala (06°43' 31.5'' N; 80°20' 34.6'' E), Hakurugala Raja Mahawiharaya Cave (07°01'. 54.6'' N, 080°14' 36.0'' E) and Keragoda Galge Cave in Mahiyanganaya (07°26'. 43.53'' N, 081°05' 31.5'' E) shows the basic and vital spaces needed for the optimum benefit of each individual as well as the groups. Spatial distribution among individuals and groups would have occurred I these caves particularly among various groups such as kids, teens, matured, eldest, strongest, and weakest and the leader and his closest followers. The spaces in those caves would have provided facilities for spatial segregation among entire age and size structures. Caves such as Batadomba Lena Cave in Kuruwita, Beli Lena Cave in Kithulgala, Pothgul Lena Cave in Alawala and Fahiyan Lena Cave in Bulathsinhala show a model of the living space used by the prehistoric man. Archaeological evidence has proved that those caves were successful settlements during the prehistoric times. It can be concluded that continuous space in the cave interior would have catered for variety of human behaviors of different individuals and groups. Political hierarchy would have been another invisible dimension in cave dwelling human society. The success and the failure of the prehistoric human society would have influenced by the availability of space. The factors that divide the space of the cave for various activities would have been the spaces and shapes with different amounts of volumes, light, humidity and the surface rhythm of each defined space.

Key words; cave dwelling society, cave space, physical structures and human behavior