Siran Deraniyagala: Founder of Modern Sri Lankan Archaeology
Keywords:prehistory, protohistory, excavation, stratigraphy, radiometric dating
Research on the prehistory of Sri Lanka and the name of Siran Deraniyagala are entwined in a lasting legacy. Harvard-trained prehistorian and former Director-General of the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Sri Lanka, Deraniyagala was the founder of modern Sri Lankan prehistoric archaeology and has been responsible for significant discoveries, while setting the direction and emphases in the study of prehistory for the island and the region. Siran Upendra Deraniyagala was born in 1942 to a prominent family of scholars with his father being the famous naturalist Dr. Paulus Edward Pieris (P.E.P) Deraniyagala and his paternal grandfather the famous historian Sir Paul E. Pieris. Having joined the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon as the first Assistant Commissioner of the Excavation Branch and eventually in the position of Director-General, Siran Deraniyagala guided the archaeological scene of Sri Lanka with problem oriented archaeological research. His research methodology and outstanding knowledge of survey and stratigraphic practice and excavation set the stage for subsequent professionalism in field archaeology in the country.
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