A team of researchers from the Archaeological Faculty of the Kelaniya University lead by Prof. Raj Somadewa has discovered a kind of grains of more than 6000 years during excavations on the Ilukkumbura area in Balangoda which was the seat of an ancient civilization.
Prof, Somadewa said it was evident that the staple diet of the earliest inhabitants of the county comprised of rice, herbs and fruits. He pointed out that the kind of paddy he discovered had evolved into the present varieties of paddy cultivated in the country. He refused the notion that the variety of paddy cultivated in Sri Lanka had an Indian origin.
“We discovered several kinds of grains including paddy, during excavations. We referred specimens to the Beta Analytics Corporation in Florida for laboratory tests to determine the chronology. They have reported that the history of paddy runs as far back as 4350BC. It is evident that the pre-historic man who lived about 6000 years ago had given up hunting and switched to vegetarian diet. The varieties of paddy might have been improved later into the present varieties,” he said.
He also said the botanists in Colombo were not in a position to identify the grains. However the Beta Analytics Corporation had sent their report in two weeks. He said that his team would carry out further research on all wild paddy and other seeds. (Prince Ratnayake)