Ruins of ancient mansion unearthed

by Karunaratne Gamage

Ruins of a luxurious mansion were unearthed by a group of local archaeologists during their excavations at the Vijithapura Fortress site in Polonnaruwa.

The excavators believe that this belonged to either a king or a regional ruler since they had found ruins of bath houses and ponds.

Senior Lecturer of the Department of Archaeology, Prof Anura Manatunga said that this was the first ever secular building unearthed in Polonnaruwa where a large number of remains of buildings used for religious purposes including temples and monasteries had been dug up in the past.

When compared to other building remains found in the area, the condition of the material of the newly found remains is very high, he said. The excavations so far have yielded evidence of remains of three buildings attached to each other. The main building has evidence that it had been furnished with a highly developed water supply mechanism. There are signs of a gutter system and waterways.

Prof Manatunga said that the bricks used to construct the buildings were more similar to the types used to build mansions in the Anuradhapura Period.

The excavations were earlier aimed at unearthing the remains of the Vijithapura Fortress. The archaeologists opine that the remains of the fortress would be below the Kaduruwela Seed Farm premises in Polonnaruwa. Among the artifacts found so far were five types of tiles, two ancient coins, a clay pot and a clay plate with three handles. All of them were found from the excavation sites of the Southern and Western moats of the Fortress.

The excavations are funded by the Central Cultural Fund and the Alahana Excavations Project and under the supervision of Prof Manatunga

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