Lanka's Titanic: Ancient ship found near Godavaya

Stone bench with ancient inscription believed to be older than 2,000 years

From Emirates 247

Shipwreck stories like the famous ‘Titanic’ accentuated by a moving love affair between a young man and woman are so pulse-stirring that they have gone into film scripts and relived on the big screen.

It is in this vein that we hear of the oldest shipwreck in the Indian Ocean discovered recently five miles from the ancient site of Godavaya at a depth of 30m; so much so is the interest the discovery has evoked that it has brought together a team of researchers both Sri Lankan, American, German, French and Turkish in that desire to assess the archeological potential it carries.

This voyage formally announced at a press confab last Friday largely attended by this entourage of researchers comes in the wake of invaluable archeological discoveries such as Black and Red Ware (BRW) and two purified glass ingots, the tests of which done from December 2010-11 by an international team of divers and archeologists led to an agreement being signed between Sri Lanka’s Department of Archeology and the Institute of Nautical Archeology, Texas A&M University, USA to undertake collaborative research activities to excavate the Godavaya shipwreck discovered by two local fishermen in 2003 named RP Sunil and BG Preminda who spoke to The Nation.

The research team was drawn from the local Department of Archeology, Institute of Nautical Archeology, USA, University Texas A&M and University of California at Berkley and France (French National Centre for Scientific Research).

The shipwreck, close to the Walawe Ganga, could provide significant details of the cargo it was carrying.

Incidentally, the Walawe Ganga was one of five navigable rivers on the island listed by the Classical Author Pallaudis, according to the Director-General of Archeology, Dr Senarath Dissanayake who was on Friday joined by Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi now serving with the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, Prof. Deborah Carlson, INA President and faculty member of Texas A&M University and Sanjyot Mehendate of the University of California, Berkley.

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