Sri Jayewardenepura University hosts SOSAA’s 7th International Conference on History and Archaeology
The seventh international conference of the Society of South Asian Archaeology (SOSAA), which was hosted by the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJ), was held from September 18-19, 2020.
As the first part of the conference, the inauguration ceremony and the presentation of research papers from Sri Lanka was held on September 18 from 9 a.m. onwards, at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS) of the USJ. The second part of the conference was held on September 19 at the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, Deccan College, India.
The entire conference on both days was streamed online via Zoom to facilitate the participation of scholars and other presenters around the South Asian region and other countries.
With the theme “Save our heritage for our future”, the conference was held in collaboration with Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre of Indian High Commission Colombo and the Sri Lanka national commission for UNESCO.
"The 7th international conference had brought archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and social scientists on one platform to discuss some common issues related to population movements, cultural interaction, trade exchange, the impact of climate on cultures, social formation in South Asia"
The conference was chaired by the Guest of Honour Emeritus Prof.S.B.Hettiarachi, Dr.S.U.Deraniyagala, the Director-General of the Department of Archaeology. Dr Rewant Vikram Singh, Director, SVCC High Commission of India, Sri Lanka was also present as a guest. The President of the 7th SOSAA’s international conference Prof. Alexander Kapukotuwa of USJ warmly welcomed the guests and the participants of the conference. Besides, a special address was delivered by Prof. Vasant Shinde, the founder and President of SOSAA
In his special address at the conference via zoom, Prof. Shinde harped on the inter-related nature of archaeology with an emphasis on the South Asian region. He made it a point that both Sri Lanka and India needed to work together in the field of history and archaeology. Among the guests of the conference were the Vice-Chancellor of USJ, Prof. Sudantha Liyanage and the Dean of the FHSS, Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda. Prof. Liyanage in his speech noted he would fully support both ongoing and future archaeological projects in his capacity as the Vice-Chancellor of USJ. As the dean of the FHSS, Prof. Heenkenda expressed his gratitude for selecting USJ as the host of the 7th conference of the SOSAA.
Speaking to Daily mirror the secretary of the 7th SOSAA conference, Prof.Gamini Ranasinghe of USJ said there had been three special sessions on September 18. “We had three main sessions. The first session was on Rajagala Archaeological research project while the second session was on Rakhigarhi excavation project.
The third session was allocated for the presentation of research papers in Sinhalese. We also intend to continue the researches related to Rajagala archaeological site with the help of both local and internal scholars,” he added. For this purpose, he said the participation of current undergraduates at the Department of History and Archaeology of USJ would be instrumental.
Prof. Ranasinghe said there had been around 40 papers which were presented at the conference, adding around ten selected research papers from all the presented papers would be published in a special volume of Vidyodaya Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences.
"Prof. Ranasinghe said there had been around 40 papers which were presented at the conference, adding around ten selected research papers from all the presented papers would be published in a special volume of Vidyodaya Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences"
He also said both the second and third sessions went in parallel on the same day. Identifying the SOSAA conference as a platform to establish a scholarly discourse in the field of archaeology and history in the South Asian region, Prof. Ranasinghe noted that the conference gave a great opportunity for young researchers and scholars to present their views and findings related history and archaeology in the SA region.
“The conference which had been held for the 7th time is not only restricted to the SA itself it also welcomes the scholars all around the world to present their findings related to history and archaeology,” he said.
The session which had started on September 19 at the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, Deccan, India was held within three days from September 19-21.
As a member of the SOSAA, Prof. Ranasinghe said SOSAA believed the 7th international conference had brought archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and social scientists on one platform to discuss some common issues related to population movements, cultural interaction, trade exchange, the impact of climate on cultures, social formation in South Asia.
Prof. Ranasinghe also in his vote of thanks, extended his gratitude for all those who contributed to making the conference a success.
Pix By Nisal Baduge