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Shipwrecks with stories

Author(s): Rasika Muthucumarana ; Rukshan Priyandana

Year: 2013

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The presence of European sailing ships with masts and gun ports drawn on the walls of the 18th century Buddhist temples is a fascinating phenomenon, as these frescos show the stories of Lord Buddha and ancient Sri Lanka. They display how the traditions of the people living on the Sri Lankan coast were greatly influenced by Europeans. The presence of sailing ships anchored near the ports may have become a routine event which impacted how locals perceived local shipping traditions.  Shipwreck incidents also became unforgettable events to remember and to pass down in oral histories to the next generations.  

This paper deals with three shipwreck sites, the Hercules (1661), the Earl of Shaftsbury (1893) and the SS Conch (1903). Each has a different story to tell us and each played an important role in the development of underwater archaeological research in Sri Lanka.

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Cite this Record

Shipwrecks with stories. Rasika Muthucumarana, Rukshan Priyandana. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428493)


sailing ships Shipwrecks traditional ships

Geographic Keywords
Asia Sri Lanka

Temporal Keywords
17th to 19th century

Spatial Coverage

min long: 79.698; min lat: 5.918 ; max long: 81.891; max lat: 9.825 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 469

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America