Kurullangala | Largest Rock Art Collection in Sri Lanka

Kurullangala or Kurullanne-Lena (Sinhala: කුරුල්ලන්ගල), is a site with the remains of prehistoric rock art located in the mountain range of Punagala in Karadagolla GS division of Ella in Badulla District, Sri Lanka. This rock art site is said to be the only one of its kind so far discovered in the country (Thantilage et al., 2016). Also, it is considered the place where the largest collection of rock art in Sri Lanka is found (Thantilage et al., 2016).

Kurullangala came to the attention of the public in 2013 after a private television channel disclosed some information about the place (Thantilage et al., 2016). However, the site was known among the people around the area for a long time and some information regarding this site had already been published in a school journal in 2002 (Thantilage et al., 2016).

The remains of pre-historic drawings (rock art) are the major attraction of this site. Some archaeological evidence about the human activities of the pre-historic period has been found in the surrounding area.
The rock art
Distribution on the rock outcrop
The rock art has been drawn on a vertically standing flat surface of a rock outcrop located at the summit of a mountain (Thantilage et al., 2016). A wide area of the rock surface has been used to draw rock art and in some parts, they extend up to about 30 ft. above the lowest level (Thantilage et al., 2016). However, most of them are faded or destroyed with time due to water seepage and other natural deterioration sources. It is assumed that only a part of the original painted area lasts today (Thantilage et al., 2016).
Line drawings of animals (mainly birds), handprints (only left hand), and abstract signs are found here (Thantilage et al., 2016). Basically, red and yellow pigments have been used for these drawings (Thantilage et al., 2016).
Scientific carbon dating has become impossible due to the pigments used in these drawings are inorganic (Thantilage et al., 2016). As there is no soil accumulation in front of the painted rock surface, doing an excavation to identify the soil context that corresponds to the human activities contemporary with the rock art has also become fruitless (Thantilage et al., 2016). However, other available features and physical evidence strongly suggest that these drawings could have belonged to pre-historic times (Thantilage et al., 2016).

1) Thantilage, A.; Dissanayaka, R.A.; Bogahawatta, C.; Vithanage, I.; Senanayaka, J.; Wijesinghe, T.K.; Ekanayaka, E.M.L.S.S., 2016. An account of the recently discovered rock art site at Kurullangala in Ella, Sri Lanka. Laboratory of Cultural Material Analysis Publication Series-4. Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya. pp.1-12.
Location Map
This page was last updated on 31 May 2023

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