Archive for the ‘Beli Lena cave at Kithulgala’ Category

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Beli Lena cave at Kithulgala

July 5, 2011

Beli Lena cave at Kithulgala was excavated and researched between the years 1978-1983 by the Sri
Lankan archaeological department. The cultural deposits at the site after 25 radiometric tests were
determined to be from 30,000 – 900 years before the present day.
A diverse range of cultural, faunal and human remains were excavated. Amongst the things
discovered were some geometric microlithic stone tools which at 30,000 years are among the oldest
found to date in the world. There have also been some bone tools along with evidence of fire having
been used from 30,000 years ago onwards. The site also brought to light numerous animal remains
that had quite obviously been used for consumption. Some of the animal remains found were to
name a few sambhur, pig, barking deer, monkeys, porcupines, giant squirrels, and an assortment of
reptiles and fish. There is also evidence that the primitive human species that lived here referred to
as the Balangoda man had a diet that was primarily comprised of mammals, tree and aquatic snails
and food plants such as breadfruit and canarium (kekuna) nuts.
There is evidence that some sort of exchange network had also been established 30,000 years ago
onwards with the coastal lagoons which were some 80kms away.
The earliest evidence to date of substantial structures has been discovered at this site owing to the
rubble foundations dated to 16,000 years before present day. Skeletal remains found here in the
levels dating back 16,000 years have been intensively analysed by an international team of
anthropologists as these remains are invaluable to help us understand the physical anthropology of
the Balangoda man. Beli-Lena awaits further excavation and investigation by future generations of
Sri Lankan archaeologists with progressively sharper analytical skills.

Directions and location

The drive to the Kitulagala Beli Lena is a short but winding picturesque route thorough many rubber
estates and little water falls which are dotted along the pathway. Belilena Cave is close to the Ing
Oya rubber estate which is about 8 kilometres from the Kitulgala town. To reach Beli Lena turn at
Kitulgala Temple on Iyanwatta road to reach the school. You need to trek by foot for about 1
kilometre up a pathway that has been partly paved to reach the cave. From Colombo the journey is
about 1.5 hours.

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Kegalle District

June 29, 2011
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