Prehistoric Times of Sri Lanka

The Lankarus team has already submitted to your attention a brief, concise historical information about Sri Lanka. However, we have received several descriptions of the prehistoric past of the island of Lanka in Sinhala and English languages prompted us to compile a collective picture of the history of the appearance of man on the island even before the recorded times in literary sources and chronicles. All the data are based on the information of various historians and archaeologists, and are of a reference and information character for those interested in the history of the ancient antiquity of the island of Sri Lanka.

Prehistoric Times in Sri Lanka

770.000 years BC — Fire is used in China by a Beijing man.

700.000 BC — People inhabit Lanka.
Archaeologists argue that Sri Lanka was inhabited by people around 700,000 BC, at a time when India and Sri Lanka were connected with each other by Rama's Bridge, forming a single geological subcontinent.

200.000 years BC — the beginning of the Paleolithic.
Paleolithic means the ancient Stone Age. The Lower Paleolithic is preceded by Homo Sapiens (Homo sapiens), beginning with Homo the Clever. This man began using stone tools about 2.5 million years ago. Homo Sapiens emerged about 200,000 years ago, during the Middle Paleolithic period. At the same time, during the Middle Paleolithic, people began to develop language, primitive music, early art, and the systematic burial of the dead.

123.000 years BC — the oldest man found in Lanka.
Evidence of age stems from excavations conducted in coastal deposits near Bundala. These people made instruments of quartz (and several of flint), which tools belong to the complex of objects of the Middle Paleolithic.

120.000 years BC — Modern Homo Sapiens appears in Africa.
The remains of the oldest man in Lanka and his stone tools were found in Pathirajawela in the Deep South, near Ambalantota by a student from the Central School of Badulla. This Lankan man lived 20,000 years before the Neanderthals inhabited the earth. It was estimated that the population density in Lanka at the time was 0.8-1.5 people per square kilometer in the dry zone and 0.1 in the wet zone of the island. They lived in groups of 1-2 families, and not in large groups because of a shortage of food. In favor of the proof of the preliminary historical settlement of Lanka — finds in Pathirajawela. Here, flocculent primitive clothing and a stone for the production of tools dating back to 125,000 — 75,000 BC were also found. This meant that the people of Lanka had already begun their long journey to civilization.

80.000 years BC — Lions, rhinoceroses and hippos are found on excavations in the Ratnapura area.
Archaeologists have found the remains of animals. It was a behemoth with 6 incisors, a rhinoceros and a lion. Along with these remains of animals, stone artifacts containing, as a rule, large fragments and remains of instruments of quartz and flint were found here. However, in addition to one human articulation in a pit of precious stones near Ellawala, no other human remains were discovered in Ratnapura.

80.000 years BC — Remains of the 2 oldest people found in Lanka in Bundala at the Deep South.
These people made instruments of quartz and several of silicon. In addition to such tools, no other remains survived the destructive effects of time and tropical weathering.

35,000 years BC — The Fa-Xincave Cave gave early evidence of an anatomically modern man in South Asia.
The 3rd oldest man in Lanka proves that the man of that day already consumed rice, salt, and kurahan.
20,000 BC — Remains of the body of a woman are found in a cave in Yathagampitiya near Bulath Sinhal. When examining the skeleton, it turned out that she was eating rice, kuruhan and salt. Archaeologists called her Kalu Menika. So it was finally proved that 20,000 years before our era people of Lanka were engaged in primitive agriculture. It was also the first anatomically modern man, who was found to be generally skeletal in South Asia. Pahiyangala is also the largest cave in South Asia. The cave can accommodate more than 3000 people. In 600 AD, the Chinese monk Fa Xien visited this place, he lived for some time in a cave.

28.500 years BC — In Batadoma Lena near Kuruvita found a man stronger and higher than a man from Balangoda.
These remains, as well as the following from Belilena and Bellan Bendi Pelessa, were subjected to a detailed analysis. These anatomically modern people in prehistoric Sri Lanka decided to name the Man from Balangoda. Some men were 174 cm tall, and some women were 166 cm in height. This is significantly higher than the average growth of modern Sri Lankans. The Bones of Man from Balangoda were also strong. Such people had thick bones of the skull and prominent brow ridges, massive noses, heavy jaws and short necks. Teeth were clearly large. These traits have been preserved among the indigenous people of Sri Lanka Vedda, as well as only in some specific Sinhalese. A man from Balangoda is seen as the first original resident of Lanka. Professor S. Deraniyagala, says that the tools of the Person from Balangoda are geometric microliths. They are traditionally considered the first sign of the Mesolithic in accordance with the classification defined in Europe. The earliest dates for the geometric microlithic tradition in Europe are only about 12,000 years BC. Archaeologists were astonished when the tools were found, and dated to 31,000 years BC. These findings revolutionized the understanding of the age of the microlith era, and, thanks to the finds in Batadombalena, Belilena and other places, claim to reconsider and shift the timing of the definition of this era.

28.500 years BC — Lankans live in Mannar, on the plain of Horton, in Bundala, developing in two family branches.
By this time, the Lankans had settled in every corner of Sri Lanka, from wet and cold highlands such as Maha Eliya (Horton Plains), to arid lowlands in Mannar and Wilpattu, in the tropical forests of the present Sabaragamuwa. Their camps were small, rarely exceeded 50 square meters. meters in the area. Thus, it is assumed that the occupation of each place did not exceed a couple of families maximum. This way of life is not too different from what is described for the Vedda tribe in Sri Lanka, for the Kadar people from Malapathnarama and cenchu in India, as well as for the inhabitants of the Andaman Islands and Semang Island in Malaysia. All of them moved from place to place in search of food and according to the annual cycle.

28.500 BC — The Lankas originated primitive trade relations between the coast and the hills.
Beads from shells were found in the interior of the country. The discovery of sea shells in the interior of excavations, such as Batadomba Lena, points to a vast network of contacts between the coast and the interior.

28.500 BC — The Lankas invented customs for the burial of the dead.
The man from Balangoda was buried in the land according to his custom near his own camp. The burying people laid some bones next to it. In the cave near the falls Ravana Ella and Fa Xien Lena found the remains of people, whose bones are smeared with red ocher.

28.500 years BC — Geometric microliths (as it is still believed, first used by Europeans 12,500 BC) are found in Batadomba Lena. This is a set of instruments of the Man from Balangoda. The age of the finds is 16,000 years older than the first European similar type instruments!
The tools of the Man from Balangodha are distinguished by the appearance of geometric microliths, including small pieces (less than 4 cm long) of quartz and flint, carved into a crescent, triangles and trapezoid forms. Such geometric microliths are traditionally considered a feature of the Mesolithic, which, it is believed, originated in Europe. The earliest dates for the geometric microlithic tradition in Europe are about 12,000 BC. However, instruments with clear signs of the era of microliths date back as follows: 28,500 BC. — finds in Batadomba Lena, 28.000 years BC. — finds from two coastal areas in Bundala, and more than 27,000 years BC. — The tools of a man from Belilena. Sri Lanka provided evidence of this complex technological phase 16,000 years earlier than in Europe. Nevertheless, geometric microliths have been found in various parts of Africa, such as Zaire and southern Africa. The age of the finds there exceeds 27,000 years BC. Europe was in the end exhibiting this technotrading for as yet undetermined reasons researchers.

27.000 years BC — Settlement of people in Beli Lena in the area of Kithulgala.
There is evidence of Beli Lena, which shows that salt was brought here from the coast more than 27,000 years before our era.

15000 years BC — Horton Plains.
The agronomy of the human being of Lanka is given by an evolutionary period between 15,000 and approximately 7,000 years before the rest of the world did the same. There are samples of pollen from Horton Plains, which show that a person used barley and oats for their own food, and for pastoralism from the period of 15,000 years BC. to about 8.000 years BC. New data from Horton Plains is of enormous importance for history and science. In places Gar-ya-Mar and Ak Kupruk in Afghanistan, as well as Mehrgarh in Pakistan, the first such signs of farming and cattle breeding are attributed only to the 7,000-6,000 years before our era. There is preliminary evidence of signs of cattle breeding in northern Rajasthan, India from 7000 BC. The beginning of rice cultivation and the manufacture of ceramics in Koldihwa, Uttar Pradesh, India is attributed to 5000 BC. The beginning of grain management in agrarian purposes and livestock in Nilgiri Hills in South India is attributed to 8,000 BC. Thus, in Sri Lanka there is evidence of the ancient man's agrostrategy, dated 7,000 years earlier, before the evolution of people in other parts of the world also failed.

15.000 years BC — Suriya Kanda near Embilipitya. Used necklaces and needles.
Female body parts, extracted by archaeologists, prove the use of needles from rabbit bones. A necklace made of glass is as durable as plastic. Archaeologists called this woman Nimali.

13.000 years BC — Discovery of the remains of two prehistoric people and other artifacts in a cave in Alawala, Gampaha District.
This recent discovery has discovered tools for stabbing animals, an ornament from shark teeth and remains of cereal seeds called cacoon.

10.500 BC. — Alulena near Atthangoda, Kegalle district. A lot of human remains were found here.

8.000 years BC. / 7,000 years BC — In northern Mesopotamia (now in northern Iraq), barley and wheat are grown.

6.500 years BC — Bellan Bendi Pelessa next to Embilipitya. Strong bones are found.
Bellan Bendi Pelessa is an entire open-air depository of human remains. Well-preserved evidence from these caves showed that the Lanka had a very wide range of plants and animals in the diet. Prominent among them are nuts, wild breadfruit and wild bananas. Analysis of the remains also showed that the Lankans ate almost any type of animal from elephants to snakes, rats, snails and small fish. This well-balanced diet is reflected in robust traces of human skeletal remains. The degeneration of bones caused by a specialized starch diet and a sedentary lifestyle was yet to come.

6.300 years BC — The cave of Dorawaka Kanda near Kegalle.
The geometric microlithic production of tools of labor and hunting, as well as the ceramics of the transition period from the Mesolithic to the protohistoric early Iron Age, have not been properly documented in Sri Lanka. Corresponding cultural and historical layers of that era were destroyed due to the extraction of fertilizers in the places of prehistoric cave dwellings. Recent excavations in the cave of Dorawaka Kanda near Kegalle can solve this problem. In accordance with the data of the excavations under the guidance of the historian V.H. Vijayapala, there are indications that in this place pottery and stone stools were used at the beginning of 6.300 BC. By that time the area of Dorawakalena was already the place where geometric microlith instruments were discovered. Vijayapala proved the use of grains and burnt red ceramics in Kegalla in 5.300 years BC. Black and red dishes belonging to the year 3100 BC were also found here.

6.000 years BC — The city of Lanka in Mahamewuna Uyana. Proof of the domestication of a horse.
The 35 foot remains of Mahamewun Uyana in Anuradhapura are the remains of a huge city, dating back to 9.000-6.000 years BC. This city was discovered by archaeologists relatively recently, only in 2001. It was proved that the Lankans used horses even before the northern Indians. And such notable figures of recorded history as Prince Vijaya (circa 483 AD), masterfully owned horseback riding.

6,000 years BC — The township of Palle Malala. The first proof in the history of the presence of a stable, the shell of a manure pile. An ancient fireplace, a grinding stone, a burial room, and coarse cloth are also found here.
A group of prehistoric Lankans camped on the site of a dried-up lagoon in Hambantota. There they lived, hunted and fished for food and buried the dead under the same land. They hunted deer, samboers and wild boar with stones and pointed bone tools. Meat roasted on an open hearth. Fish and reptile meat was a common diet. The bones were ground on a large flat stone to extract the bone marrow. The skins were dried using as a coarse garment. Remains of animals found on the floor of the village belong to 50 species, including deer, hares, mice, wild boar and kulumir. The primitive grinding stone and the remains of the fireplace, probably for the frying of shellfish, are also found here. The level below the cave's residential floor was the burial place. Seven skeletons of adults were found buried under a certain rituau. The manure pile and garbage pit here is a mound created by prehistoric people who threw shells of animals such as oysters and mussels here after they were consumed in food in a certain place. It is estimated that at least 15 people originally lived in this place, given the size of the shell of the manure and garbage heap.

6,000 years BC — Pellet Malala points to the origin of the beliefs of Maha Sona.
Opening in the funerary floor skulls of a wild boar with fangs and next to the human skull, suggests a kind of ritual burial. According to the Sinhalese folk tradition, Maha Sona was depicted as having a wild boar's head. The Veddas still very recently practiced the Kirikoraha ceremony, using the head of a wild boar, and offering a sacrifice to Kanda Yake, the Vedic god of hunting.

6000 BC — The similarity of a man from Palle Malal to people of the same era in other parts of the world.
The Lanka are at the forefront of human development. The way of life of the people of Lanka of the Stone Age could not help but differ from others who lived in other countries of the world. There is a striking similarity in stone tools found anywhere in the world belonging to the same age. Funeral practices also seem to have similarities. The human organs found in Pala Malala were buried in a curious folded position, where the elbows and knees are pressed to the body in the burial. Similar burials in the «folded position» were discovered in other countries of the world. However, it is proved that the people of Lanka were in the most advanced part of the race of human progress. Due to the frequent migrations between the lands that were in Sri Lanka at the time when it was part of the Indian subcontinent along the Polk Straits, it is likely that it helped people in Lanka check out how and what other people do to exchange experiences.

4,000 years BC — The first historical tomb.
Archaeologists have found a burial place next to Ibban Katuwa Wewa in Dambulla.

3500 years BC — A boat that can accommodate more than 150 passengers is found in Lanka.
At Atthanagalla Oya was found a ferry capable of carrying more than 150 people. This proved the existence of a water-based transport system.

3000 years BCSigiriya is considered to be the place described in the Ramayana, as Alaka Mandawa of the Ravana times.
Historians and archaeologists maintain that Sigiriya should be and is the Alaka Mandawa of Ravana, based on the oldest archaeological evidence found on this site.

3000 years BC — the construction of Stonehenge begins. In its first version, it consisted of a round ditch and a bank, with 56 wooden pillars.

1000 years BC — The end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Iron Age

900 BC — Remains and ruins of large settlements in Anuradhapura city.
Three main sites in Anuradhapura in north-central Sri Lanka were subjected to intensive excavations of the archaeological department, with the assistance of the University of Cambridge. There is evidence of more than 75 radiocarbon data for this locality. There is an excellent chronology, starting from 900 BC. In this layer (the early Iron Age), a large number of artifacts were found that are characterized as objects using iron, the exploitation of horses, cattle, high-grade ceramics and, possibly, rice cultivation. The territory of cultivation of rice was quite large, at least 10 hectares. It was not a small village. Anuradhapura is the only major settlement of this period that was found on Sri Lanka. Further in-depth study of periods of history reveals other large settlements of this period. But this culture developed gradually and expanded to forms of urban life only around 700 BC.

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