Sampur Sudaikuda Dagoba Bulldozed by the Extremists

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There is an old stupa on a small knoll in the village of Kevul, just off Keviliya Point, the southern tip of the Trincomalee harbour entrance called Sampur Sudaikuda Dagoba (Sudakuda, Sudaikuda). This Dagaba, facing the Indian Ocean, was discovered through the Seruvila archaeological exploration project and was completely bulldozed by extremists using dozers just within two days. After this incident, the Department of Archeology worked to complete the excavations.

There are some traces in Dhatu Vamsa related to this stupa. According to it, the Ten Kshatriyas who ruled Kataragama were killed by Gotabhaya, the son of King Yatalatissa who was the ruler of Ruhuna in the second century. To get rid of that sin, Gotabhaya built many temples and it is said that he built three hundred temples above the Mahaweli River and five hundred below the Mahweli River. Scholars believe that this stupa may have been built by him.

According to archaeological indicators, this stupa belongs to two phases.  One phase belongs to the period from the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century. Also, the presence of works belonging to the fourth and eighth centuries in this place indicates the antiquity of this stupa and the periods in which it has been venerated.

It is mentioned in the archaeological records that before the bulldozing of the stupa mound, it was about four meters high and there was a large amount of rubble stones (සක්ක ගල්) scattered on it, and a one and a half meter long stone pillar presumed to be the Yupa Stumba was also found in the north-eastern part of the mound. 

This mound was completely bulldozed up to the base of the bedrock, and a scattering of rubble stones (සක්ක ගල්) suspected to be associated with the base of the bedrock remained in the western part. A large number of small and medium-sized stones related to the construction of the Stupa had been pushed to a distance of about 12 meters in the west, east and south directions. The Department of Archeology reported that pieces of pottery, quartz flakes, moulded bricks, small bricks and reddish brown soil were scattered among them.

There is a recently built Hindu kovil on the northeast side of Stupa and another building belonging to the kovil on the east side. The front part of this temple had many fragments of ancient tiles scattered on its surface. About 10 foundation stones of different sizes belonging to old buildings are scattered and some of them are broken. There are ruins of a medium-sized stone wall on the east side, some of which have collapsed. It is believed that there are so many foundation stones since there were buildings made of wood.

Excavation work at Sampur Sudeikuda Stupa was carried out for two months from 27th January to 25th March 2018. The researchers had worked to report the mobile and stationary data found at the site separately and to carry out excavations related to the Stupa under three main stages.

Accordingly, the base and courtyard of the Stupa were surveyed, other archaeological features were observed beneath the surface, and the archaeological features of the land adjacent to the site were also surveyed.

All the parts of the scattered mound after being bulldozed were removed and the excavation work was started. Accordingly, it was confirmed that the circular base of the Stupa was a mixture of gravel and clay with a diameter of about 12 meters.

Ruins of a brick structure on the north-eastern end of the hilltop are scattered and its tiles are widely spread. According to archaeology officials, it is possible to think that this place had a building with a roof. The part built like a step in the northeast is covered with lime mortar. Remains of a wall built from its western end to the north have also been uncovered. Ancient bricks scattered around indicate more buildings in this section.

Excavations near the bell tower of the present kovil revealed evidence of a brick and stone wall or some other construction. Archaeologists are of the opinion that the area should be extensively excavated since the excavations between the kovil and Stupa had revealed brick linings that could not be clearly identified.

From the excavations made in connection with this Stupa, many quartz flakes belonging to the prehistoric period have been found and many pieces of pottery have also been found, among them are black-coloured pottery, red pottery and reddish brown pottery. In their excavation reports, the archaeological officers mentioned that they found fragments of tiles and bricks, an old square iron nail about eight centimetres long, several pieces of finials (of the stupa) and two beads, and remains of moulding bricks and carved clay boards, which may belong to the base of the Stupa among the bulldozed debris.

Archaeological remains are found in the south and south-east of the area within 150 meters of the Sudeikuda Stupa compound. There are two small ponds on the southeastern slope that are filled with water only during the rainy season. On the southern slope, there are two retaining walls made using medium and small-sized rubble stones (සක්ක ගල්). Even though the Stupa was bulldozed in Sudeikuda, the remnants indicate an agricultural settlement centred on Buddhism that flourished in this area since the 3rd century BCE.

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Map of Sampur Sudaikuda Dagaba Ruins

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Traveling Directions to Sampur Sudaikuda Dagaba Ruins

From Trincomalee to Sampur Sudaikuda Dagaba Ruins
Via : Muthur
Total Distance : 40 Kms
Duration : 1 Hour
Travel Time : Around 15-30 Minutes
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