Emeritus Prof. Senake Bandaranayake, 1938-2nd March 2015

Bindu Urugodawatte's picture

Emeritus Prof. Senake Bandaranayake (1938 - 2015)

Eminent Sri Lankan Archaeologist, father of modern Archaeology in Sri Lanka and a tireless academic, Prof. Senake Bandaranayake passed away in his sleep on 2nd March 2015 leaving behind his beloved wife and partner for 51 years, Manel Fonseka.  

His death has left a large vacuum in Sri Lankan archaeology.

Prof. Senake Bandaranayake received his B.A. (Hons.) from University of Bristol and his D. Phil. D. Litt. from University of Oxford.  He was the Professor of Archaeology at Kelaniya University, Founder and Director for 12 years at the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology, Kelaniya University, Vice Chancellor of Kelaniya University, first Archaeological Director of the Sigiriya Project of the Cultural Triangle in Sri Lanka, Founder and the Co-President of National Trust of Sri Lanka.  He also carried out yeoman service as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to France and UNESCO and Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India.

His publications include Sinhalese Monastic Architecture  (1974, reprint 2008), Sri Lanka - Island Civilization (1977), Sirigiya Excavation and Research (1984), Ivan Peries Paintings 1938-88 (1996 Co-author), The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka (1986, reprint 2008), The Settlement Archaeology of Sigiriya Dambulla Region (1990 Co-author), Further Studies of the Settlement Archaeology of Sigiriya Dambulla Region (1994 Co-author), Sri Lanka and the Silk Road of the Sea (1990 co-author and Editor), etc.  

His Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka remains the basic text on Sri Lankan paintings, and Settlement Archaeology of Sigiriya Dambulla Region remains the basic text and pioneer study for ethno-archaeological, archaeobotanical, etc., studies in Sri Lanka.  Prof. Bandaranayake was a charismatic man who had the vision to take Sri Lankan archaeology to the 21st century.  He opened the Post Graduate Insitute of Archaeology to all interested in archaeology and shared his knowledge with all.

To me personally, he was the person who got me interested in archaeology as a 6th grader and supported me throughout my research.  He gave me my first opportunity to do field work in Sri Lanka when I had barely graduated from High School.  He encouraged me and was proud of all my achievements and was encouraging me always to look beyond the mundane.  He will be missed by his students and all who knew him.  

Bindu Urugodawatte
Independent Researcher, Sri Lanka

[Ed. note: Thank you to Bindu Urugodawatte for this tribute to Prof. Bandaranayake. For a longer listing of his publications see here. RD]