By Kumara C.Liyanarachchi and Wasantha Chandrapala
A host of artefacts including four golden caskets and a crystalline casket containing sacred relics had been discovered during the on-going excavations in the Deeghavapi Chethiya site.
Director General of Archaeology Senerath Dissanayake said it was for the first time that four golden caskets containing sacred relics had been found in one location. Archaeologists said the finds included two crystals in the crystalline casket that could be the remnants of ornaments and any such had never been found earlier. The archaeological officers had taken about 12 hours to reach the location of the caskets and to take them out.
Archaeological Officer-in-charge of Excavations Senaka Chandrakumara said an area near the Southern Wahalkada Gate was identified during excavations. He said a stone casket about 18” tall had been found earlier and it was handed over to the Ampara District Secretariat pending further research.
Chief Incumbent of the Deeghavapi Rajamaha Vihara Venerable Mahaoya Sobhitha Thera, Mahanayake of the Upcountry Amarapura Samagri Sanghasabha Ven. Girambe Mangala Thera and Chief Incumbent of the Buddhangala Jungle Monastery Ven. Deeghavapiye Susima Thera administered religious observances when the golden caskets were taken out.
Dr. Senerath Dissanayake said excavations and the conservation project would take about three years.
Assistant Director Archaeology, S.A.G. Priyantha, Ampara Government Agent D.L.M. Bandaranayaka, Senior DIG, Eastern Province Nilantha, Eastern Province Commander Major General Gamage, DIG Ampara Dstrict Ayesh Karunaratne, Major General Weerakkody and several senior officials of the Department of Archaeology were present at the occasion.
- An area near the Southern Wahalkada Gate was identified during excavations