Ashan, like most other members in this Forum I agree with you..... IN TOTAL.
Totally, totally agree that we need to promote less known sites.
Our heritage, whether natural or constructed, will live on only if we engage in it.
But RESPONSIBLY. Along with promoting places, we need to constantly emphasise what we mean by responsible, sensitive travel. In a natural environment, cultural and social environment sense.
On nidan horu
, treasure hunters: there is obviously a long, long history to this. All invaders for thousands of years ransacked temples and towns. Took away what they wanted very openly. Doing it in secret also obviously happened for long. As the 1910-11 Archeological Report says:
BUT, this does NOT mean it is to be TOLARATED. We need to do all we can to stop or minimize it. And one thing we CAN do is make the sites known. Sri Lankans love to travel. They will visit. And cramp the space of unscrupulous persons.
Imagine if the archeology department decided they don’t want the sites cleared and made known to the public…! What a disaster by now!
It will also to a certain extent either encourage or even force the authorities to act..... not that they would (or could) do ‘wonders’ over night.
Yes, very true. And things are already being done:
Sometime back the archeology department started a community archeological protection programme. It was under this programme that the set of books (Rs.40 per district) were published with all the possible known and little known archeological sites listed. I got the full set at the Book Fair in 2005 ( I think). Popularizing unknown sites clearly is the intention of the Arch. Dpt. along with increasing the knowledge of the local residents and getting them involved in conservation. Clearly looking at the positive rather than the negative possibilities.
Much more recently, apparently police stations now have a designated officer that is dealing with archeological sites. So complaints of suspicious activity etc can be reported and they will follow up. This also means that we should be careful as well, given the places we go looking for, and the interest we take, the photos we take, its not hard to be mistaken for a fact finding group of the dishonest groups. Best is to follow the rule of speaking to the Hamuduruwo, if there is one, speaking to the villages, stopping off at the තේ කඩේ and making your intentions known, rather than just arrive and explore without the knowledge of the locals. Lets explore, help others explore…this wonderful land of ours.
Let US be sensitive and responsible, and help others do the same[/u].