Mannar mass grave: Results of radiocarbon dating report questionable
Posted on June 29th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The results of the radiocarbon dating test report carried out by a laboratory in the United States on the bone samples recovered from the mass grave in Mannar are questionable, says Prof. Raj Somadeva of Archaeology at the Postgraduate Institute of the University of Kelaniya.

Prof. Somadeva, speaking to BBC Sinhala, said there are doubts concerning the estimated time period of the bone fragment samples as they were recovered from the same grave but said to have a difference of 231 years.

Mannar mass grave: Results of radiocarbon dating report questionable

Accordingly, the Mannar Magistrate’s Court has informed him to submit a complete forensic report on the bone fragments found from the mass grave, Prof. Somadeva further told BBC Sinhala.

The investigating team expects to submit the said report to the Mannar Magistrate’s Court before the 31st of July, he added.

Testing on the bone fragments have already been commenced to prepare the relevant forensic report and a separate report will be prepared on the other items recovered from the mass grave to estimate the time in order to determine the nature of the mass grave.

Several skeletal remains were discovered on March 26 from a mound of soil in the Emil Nagar area in Mannar, which had been removed from the demolished CWE building and investigations regarding the location were launched subsequently.

The investigations, led by Prof. Raj Somadeva of Archaeology at the Postgraduate Institute of the University of Kelaniya, the officers of the Archaeological Department, Government Analysts and the Judicial Medical Officers including Dr Saminda Rajapaksa, Mannar police officers, were conducted for at the mass grave under the orders of Mannar Magistrate T. Saravanaraja.

The reports said 330 bone fragments have thus far been unearthed from the mass grave.

On 23rd of January, six samples of the unearthed bone fragments were sent for radiocarbon testing at a laboratory in Florida, USA. The report was submitted to the Mannar Magistrate’s Court on March 7th.

According to the report sent by Beta Analytic Inc., a radiocarbon dating laboratory in Miami, USA, the sample bone fragments fall within calendar years of 1450-1650 AD.

One Response to “Mannar mass grave: Results of radiocarbon dating report questionable”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    MANNAR is a beautiful place. I visited Mannar every month, in my VW as a BCC Rep. The rest house had a variety of Sea Food for lunch. I spent a long time at Lunch, eating Crab. There is a dirt road next to the rest house, and when you go about half a mile, there are two or three trees of which the diameter of the trunk is about ten to twelve feet. I think they are known as Ba oB trees. The height of a tree is about 15 feet as I would remember. Half a gunny bag of medium size Crab at the market was Rs3.00. Memories of 1960s.

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