Continuities and Transformations

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This is a collection of nine articles addressing theoretical issues, hypotheses, generalizations, in the study of the material remains of Sri Lanka’s historical civilization. They have all been previously published but in widely scattered sources, sometimes difficult to find. Bringing them together makes for a construct larger than the sum of its component parts.

They deal with a variety of subjects: from the agrarian transition of protohistoric times to periodisation of Sri Lanka’s historical trajectory to hypotheses on unity and differentiation in an attempt to locate the specificity of the Sri Lankan tradition in a matrix of Monsoon Asian cultures; from the categorization of the Sri Lankan social formation to the study of patterns and semiotics of power and authority in architectural planning; from the critique of diffusionism to the social dimension in the production and consumption of art and ornamentation.

Continuities and Transformations is a contribution to the study of historical dynamics. Proceeding from an archaeological perspective, it presents Sri Lanka as ‘an island laboratory for studying historical change.’