Magistrate orders suspension of excavation at Mannar grave

The Mannar Magistrate today ordered the temporary suspension of the excavation work at the Mannar mass grave.

The carbon dating report on the Mannar mass grave had yesterday revealed that the bone samples taken from the site were from the years between 1400-1650 AD.

Six bone samples obtained from the Mannar mass grave, located at the Sathosa Building in the Mannar town (Case No B/232/2018), were sent for radiocarbon dating, to Beta Analytics in Miami, Florida, USA.

The full report on the carbon dating was submitted to the Mannar Magistrate and made public yesterday.

Beta Analytics was selected as the laboratory as it is a recognised and accredited institution that specializes in bomb pulse carbon dating. Radio carbon dating calculates the amount of Carbon-14 in bone and teeth samples and establishes the approximate time when an animal or plant was alive.

It is a form of testing used in archaeology and forensic science for dating human remains. Where the skeletons are of persons who died after World War II, bomb pulse carbon 14 dating can provide a narrower range of time period in which the deaths occurred.

The report from the laboratory, along with results from other examinations carried out by the investigation team headed by Dr Rajapaksa, will help address key questions, including if these human remains, numbering over 300 skeletons as of 22 January, are from one or
multiple historical periods. (Colombo Gazette)


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