The skeletons unearthed at Thiruketheeswaram in Mannar were reportedly of bodies buried since the 1930’s, further it is not a mass grave site as earlier believed, but an ordinary cemetery, the Archeological Department Director General said today.
The remains were first discovered on December 20 by some workers digging a trench to lay a pipeline, 2013. The Mannar Magistrate had instructed the Archeological Department to investigate and report on the findings.
“Investigations carried out by the Department have revealed that the grave site has existed since the 1930’s and that it is an ordinary cemetery. The bodies had been buried with the hands on the belly with the head in a westerly direction as in normal burials,” Director General Senarath Dissanayake told a news conference.
He said there were several differences between a mass grave site and a normal cemetery.
“Unlike in a normal cemetery where bodies are buried separately and in an orderly manner, where a mass grave is concerned bodies are dumped together and piled one over the other in a haphazard manner,” he said and added that about 60 skeletons had been recovered so far from the Mannar mass grave site. (Lahiru Pothmulla)