We can look after our damsels, Archaeology Chief says


by Pabodha Hettige

Foreign experts are not needed to preserve the Sigiriya frescoes and to study the reasons for their discolouration, Director General, Department of Archaeology, Dr. Senarath Dissanayake says. "Sri Lanka has enough local experts to analyse the state of frescoes to take necessary measures to preserve them," he said. A source from the Ministry of Culture and Aesthetic Affairs told The Island that two Italian experts on ancient art were due to arrive in Sri Lanka to study the state of the frescoes. They were to make recommendations based on their findings as well as those of the local experts.

"A committee comprising local experts has carried out research earlier and identified that the discolouration is caused by a chemical applied to preserve the frescoes several decades ago," Dissanayake said. The local experts have reached the conclusion that the layer of chemical applied on the surface of the frescoes is in the process of decaying but the frescoes are not affected and further damage could be prevented.

"The Department of Archaeology is planning to remove the layer of chemicals this year," Dissanayake said.

The committee to investigate the causes consists of Prof. Jagath Weerasinghe, Nimal de Silva, Dr. Mohan Aberathne, P .B. D Nandadewa and Ajith Thanthilage.

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