Contextualising the Tabbova-Maradanmaduva "Culture": Excavations at Nikawewa, Tirappane Division, Anuradhapura District

Robin Alexander Evelyn Coningham, Prasanta Gunawardhana, Christopher Edward Davis, Ian A. Simpson, Keir Strickland, Mark James Manuel

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Terracotta figurines and artefacts discovered throughout Sri Lanka, especially in the North Central Province, have been traditionally assigned to the Tabbova-Maradanmaduva culture. Not a single stratigraphic excavation has been conducted at any site where a terracotta assemblage has been recovered, leading to a variety of divergent opinions as to the date of such artefacts. In addition, the corpus is often presumed to represent `folk art¿ spontaneously created by individuals or local communities to suit and satisfy immediate ritual, economic, and social concerns. Recent fieldwork conducted as part of the Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka) Project: The Hinterland (Phase II) has addressed the uncertainty surrounding the Tabbova-Maradanmaduva culture. Not only has excavation at the site of Nikawewa (D339) provided the first absolute
scientific date for such an assemblage, but data collected from the project¿s sample universe suggests that the terracotta corpus exhibits a high degree of uniformity and that these assemblages may represent a formalised ritual structure parallel to that provided by Buddhist monasteries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)01-14
JournalSouth Asian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology of religion
  • Anuradhapura
  • Sri Lanka
  • Archaeology of Buddhism
  • South Asian Studies
  • Terracotta Figurines
  • Cultic


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