History & Culture of Sri Lanka ( based on my talk -Jan 2011)
Codrington on Sri Lanka– A Short History
Five Million Years BC – Beginning of the Humans. Five million years ago, Human-like Apes lived in Africa. They developed into humans over a period of 2-3 million years. During the ice age which began around 2.5 million years BC, these humans started to walk over the frozen landscape.
One Million Years BC – Humans migrate from Africa to the rest of the world About 1 million years ago, Humans migrated from Africa, to Asia, Indonesia and Europe over frozen landscapes. Until then, early humans had lived only in Africa. Archaeologists believe that the humans inhabited Sri Lanka during this migration. During the migration, the humans learnt to make and use primitive hand tools like axes.
700,000 BC – Humans in Lanka Archeologists claim that Sri Lanka was definitely inhabited by the humans by 700,000 BC.
500,000 BC – The humans had started to use fire.
Oldest human found in Sri Lanka
123,000 BC – Oldest human found in Lanka – Pathirajawela in the deep South. A student from Bundala Central school recovered the oldest Lankan human’s remains and his stone tools in Pathirajawela in Deep south, near Ambalantota. This Lankan had lived 20,000 years before the Niandathal inhabited the earth. It has been estimated, at an international average, that the population density for Lanka, at the time was 0.8-1.5 per SqKm in dry zone and 0.1 in wet zone. They had lived in groups of 1-2 families, not in large groups due to scarcity of food. With this proof of pre-historic settlement in Lanka, Patirajawela also exposed a flake and stone tool industry belonging to 125,000 to 75,000 BC. This meant that the Lankans had already started their long journey towards civilisation.
80000 BC – Ratnapura – Lions, Rinocerous and Hippos From an excavation in Ratnapura District, archaeologists have found the remains of animals. That included a hippopotamus with six incisor teeth, a rhinoceros, and a lion. Along with these animal remains, stone artefacts comprising, typically, large choppers and flakes of quartz and chert, have been found. However, apart from a human calotte from a gem pit near Ellawala, no human remains have been discovered yet from the Ratnapura……..
Ravana sites in Sri Lanka