Archaeology Dept moves to rehabilitate sacred sites
The Department of Archaeology has begun archaeological activities in
the Eastern Province to preserve and rehabilitate cultural and sacred
sites of historic importance. Archaeology Department Director Nimal
Perera said archaeologists have started rehabilitation and excavation
projects at Neelagiri Maha Seya and Deegawapiya archaeological sites in
the Lahugala forest reserve.
“The development of these sites for the restoration of historic
stupas and other religious structures in them, has remained at a
standstill for at least 25 years due to terrorist activities in these
areas,” he said. Deegawapiya is said to be a site where the Buddha had
set foot and meditated.
The Deegawapiya Dagoba dates back to the third century BC. It was
built by King Kavantissa’s younger son, Prince Saddhatissa. Perera said
the excavation project of Deegawapiya can reveal interesting ruins of
archaeological importance. According to Archaeology Department’s Museum
and Maintenance Deputy Director M Madagammana, excavation of the maluwa
area of Deegawapiya Dagoba where the sacred relics of the Buddha are
kept, has been completed.
“We have started work to uncover the structure of the Dagoba,” he
said. Madagammana designed the Deegawapiya and Neelagiri Seya excavation
projects. He said Neelagiri Seya is the largest stupa in the Eastern
“We are trying to bring to form the shape of the Neelagiri stupa,” he
The government funds the two excavation projects. Bank of Ceylon has
extended financial assistance for Deegawapiya excavations, he said.