8/11/2009

How can the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka be saved from the treasure hunters?

(August 11, 2009 - Lanka Polity) On August 09, an unknown group of treasure hunters exploded a stone bed in 'Mihindu Guhava' caves in historic Mihinthale archeological site in Sri Lanka. Buddhists believe this bed was used by Arhath Mahinda Thero, the monk who is believed the person that introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka in 3rd century BC.

The treasure hunters damaged three of the four circular carvings at the four corners of the stone bed, site sources say.

The officials of the Archaeological Department point out that there are not sufficient watchers to guard this site. An entire Army will not be sufficient to guard the archaeological sites that are scattered all over Sri Lanka including forests.

These archaeological sites can be protected only by educating public that these places are not the treasure caches or the items that can be sold to foreigners for a lucrative income. Instead the public should be motivated to identify them as heritage from the past that should be protected for the future generations.

This cannot be done by mere preaching of the archaeologists via media. Both media and scholars of Sri Lanka have lost faith among people thanks to their own conduct.

The authorities like politicians, officials, archaeologists, historians and Buddhist monks should stop mystifying the past for the present gains. People must be able to see the brethren of the past as ones who were also human beings like themselves and not like the supernatural human beings that performed miracles and hid gold in every nook and corner.

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