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Title: Interactions between Sri Lanka and South India in the Early and Middle Historic through the perspective of personal adornment
Author: Gunasena, Kaushalya Gangadari
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 7250
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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The present research investigates the interaction between Sri Lanka and its closest neighbouring region, South India, during the Early and Middle Historic periods. This connection has often been studied based on the textual evidence available on either side with little regard for the material evidence. Therefore, previous studies have fallen short of providing an objective understanding of the interactions. Furthermore, the focus of previous studies has been large-scale, state-mandated interaction. In contrast, this study has adopted a novel approach through the perspective of personal adornment and has been able to trace far closer contact between the two regions than official interaction suggests. To understand interpersonal interactions between the two regions, objects of personal adornment from seven different sites in Sri Lanka and South India were analysed. The patterns that emerge from assemblages of objects of adornment, including beads and other non-bead adornments were observed. The rationale behind this analysis was that body beautification expresses the individual and social identities of people across time and space. Consequently, it was anticipated that, by observing artefacts that are expressions of the identities and preferences of the general populace, this would shed light on interpersonal contact between the two regions. The patterns visible from the analysis of assemblages illustrate strong similarities between the two regions, during the Early and Middle Historic Periods. This is likely to have been the result of exchanging goods, ideas and technological knowledge. This study has also revealed that amidst shared cultural traits, each region developed preferences distinct from each other. The ethnographic study carried out provides further evidence of interactions between the two regions, which is missing in the texts and the archaeological record. These interactions probably reflect those which existed in the past. The integrated evidence used in this study clearly indicates longstanding, continuous personal-level interactions, between Sri Lanka and South India, which were hitherto unknown.
Supervisor: Juleff, Gill, Sharada Srinivasan Sponsor: University of Exeter
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: South Asian Archaeology ; Sri Lanka-South India Studies ; beads ; personal adornment