Godawaya is a small fishing village, which located in the Hambantota district of Southern Sri Lanka, between Ambalantota and Hambantota, near the Walawe river mouth. On a small rocky elevation on the left bank of the estuary is a Buddhist temple. A rock inscription found at this temple pertaining to the reign of a king named Gamini Abaya (113-135 AD) seconds the donation of the customs duties collected at the port, they called Godapavata to the temple. In 2003 an old stone anchor was found off shore here. In the following year two local divers from Godavaya found another valuable item, a small stone bench carved with some ancient symbols.
Following these trails, on the 18th October 2008, we did an exploration where the stone bench was found. At the depth of 31 meter we came across some coral mounds with some potsherds scattered over the seabed. Under the mounds, which we thought were reefs, we found some very fragile wooden remains covered with a thick layer of corals and plants. We also came across some glaze ingots, used to glaze or colour the clay vassals.
Our subsequent analyses indicate that the artefacts belong to an era before the 4th century CE, which marks the limit for the utilization of Black & Red Ware (BRW). BRW can be traced up to the 20th Century BCE. Also some of the symbols on the stone bench were used between 3rd and 1st Century BCE. Full Story ..
The forth underwater archaeology training program conducted by the MAU to give a theoretical and practical knowledge for future archaeologists was held in January 2012. Seventeen undergraduates (archaeology special degree) from 04 universities participated for this 10-day onsite training program. Under graduates from each university (Kelaniya, Peradeniya, Ruhuna and Sri Jayawardhanapura) were accommodated in the Galle fort during the training program. This was the first time that these students were exposed to this new field. The program was designed to give an overall knowledge about underwater archaeology, particularly about the fieldwork. Full Story ..
This project entitled “Safeguarding the Underwater Cultural Heritage of Asia and the Pacific: Building Regional Capacities to Protect and Manage Underwater Archaeological Sites through the establishment of a Regional Centre of Excellence Field Training Facility and Program of Instruction” is funded by the Royal Government of Norway. It is organized through the partnership between UNESCO and the Thai Ministry of Culture. The field activities and the training courses were launched in October 2009 and will take place till end of this year (2011)
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Sri Lanka is situated at a location where all shipping routes in the Indian Ocean meet. It has a very long coastline for an island which is so small. We also have a long recorded history during which we came into contact with all other seafaring people of the most countries who came here, mostly for trade. They referred to our country in glowing terms. They also made records of Sri Lankan visitors to foreign countries such as Rome and China.
The Unit consists of an archaeological diving unit and a conservation laboratory, located on one of the jetties of the old harbour of Galle and a library and a computer unit inside the Galle fort. Team of maritime archaeologists and conservators from the Central Cultural Fund and other related institutes are working at Galle.
Web links for Partner Institutions
Central Cultural Fund : www.ccf.lk
Department of Archaeology :www.archaeology.gov.lk
PGIAR – Post Graduate Institute for Archaeology Kelaniya University :www.pgiar.lk
Department of National Museums :www.museum.gov.lk
Avondster Project :www.hum.uva.nl/galle
AIMA- Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology : http://www.aima.iinet.net.au
Western Australian Museums : www.museum.wa.gov.au/museums/maritime
UNESCO Asia and the Pacific :http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/worldwide/asia-and-the-pacific/