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3,400 year old human remains discovered in Velanai, Jaffna

In a remarkable archaeological revelation, human remains dating back approximately 3400 years have been uncovered in the Velanai area of Jaffna, a discovery that stands as a testament to one of the oldest prehistoric human civilizations on the island.

Situated just one kilometer south of Velanai Chatty beach, the archaeological site has been a focal point of continuous studies since 2009. Researchers, particularly focusing on seashell-related usage trends along the island's coastline, have unearthed a trove of invaluable artifacts shedding light on the historical practices of the region.

The extensive excavation efforts have brought to light remnants of hunted animals, tools, evidence of burial practices, and a myriad of artifacts. This discovery parallels similar discovery of evidence of prehistory dating back to 1600 BC in Manthai, Mannar.

Conducted by students from the Institute of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Jaffna, in collaboration with Thilanga Siriwardena, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management at Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, and the Groningen Institute of Archaeology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, this research has propelled the island's prehistory an additional two hundred years further back than previously thought.

The groundbreaking findings not only showcase the rich historical tapestry of Jaffna but also underscore the collaborative efforts between local and international scholars.

"If we place these factors together with the ancient legends, we know that seafaring Naga tribes constantly refer to this region," said the researchers, according to archaeology.lk. "We should consider that more ancient evidence from Farzan Island in the Red Sea shows similar seafaring trends in that part of the Indian Ocean."

"Taking all this together, we can see that there must have been a coastal interaction between the different people who lived along the coast of the Indian Ocean and that the origin of the complex trade pattern and cultural expansion process that developed in the Indian Ocean, later, may have arisen from such a community based on limited resources."

"Therefore, rather than just finding the earliest prehistoric evidence in Jaffna, these findings provide an excellent opportunity to study the transition between the Mesolithic culture and the early Iron culture and how the people of the Indian Ocean traveled by sailing."

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