Human Skeletal Remains Analysis from Pallemalala Shell Midden in Southern Sri Lanka

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Lanka Ranaweera & Gamini Adikari


Sri Lanka, an island off the tip of the Southeast of the Indian subcontinent processes the earliest skeletal evidence of anatomically modern Homo sapiens (37,000 B.P.) and the best human skeletal record sequence in the South Asian region. Adding another to the list, the skeletal remains, which belong to Mesolithic culture were found at Pallemalala shell midden in Southern Sri Lanka during scientific archaeological exploration by Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya. Sri Lanka. The aim of the study was to determine the minimum number of human individuals, age, sex, and pathological conditions related to the ancient Pallemalala commiunity. For the primary analysis, 426 bone fragments were available. Out of those, 233 bones were identified as human bones which represent 7 minimum number of individuals. The rest of the collection comprises some animal bones and shell species. The community was predominated by the female population. The identified age categories were around 20 years, between 35-45 years, and over 45 years. The encountered pathological lesions were bone thickening, alveolar resorption, dental abscesses, dental caries, antemorterm tooth loss, calculus deposits and brown colour stains on teeth. Regarding the dietary pattern, it was evident that their diet may have consisted of coarse foodstuffs with an extremely basic dietary chemistry.

KEY WORDS: Human, Skeletal remains; Sri Lanka; Pallemalala; Shell midden.

How to cite this article

RANAWEERA, L. & ADIKARI, G. Human skeletal remains analysis from pallemalala shell midden in southern Sri Lanka. Int. J. Morphol., 40(5):1386-1394, 2022.