A glimpse into prehistoric Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is known as a fascinating island for its archeological treasures of prehistoric civilization. One of the places where you can understand the society and lifestyle of the ancient Sri Lankans is the ancient habitation site and burial ground in Ibbankatuwa which is considered as one of the largest and best preserved ancient burial grounds in Sri Lanka. Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs located on the upper reaches of the Kala Oya basin, 3 kilometres south – west of Dambulla city in a village called Ibbankatuwa in Talakiriyagama.
The Ibbankatuwa tomb site was first identified in 1970 by the Archaeological Department. Ibbankatuwa is an early Iron Age burial and habitation site covering an area of approximately 1 square kilometre and consists of 42 clusters of tombs. Each cluster contains around ten tombs and the tombs have a capstone slab on top and four flat rock slabs. Skeletons as well as cremated remains were found from the tombs. Radiocarbon dating reveal that these tombs date back to 700 – 400 B.C. Archaeological excavations were carried out between 1983 and 1984 and again between 1988 and 1990 which confirmed that this site belongs to the megalithic prehistoric and protohistoric periods of Sri Lanka. A variety of grave goods, tools, clay pots, iron, copper and gold artifacts, beads, and necklaces were found at the site. Archeologists and scientists are doing extensive research to find out who lived in Ibbankatuwa. The graves and burial preparation are more like that of ancient Egypt. What makes Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs a destination visited by history lovers as well as tourists is that it is still an active archeological site, with many secrets yet to be revealed. The site was designated as a tourist attraction in 2017 and is open to the public daily from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm