Despite our understanding of the urban process of Anuradhapura, knowledge of the role played by non-urban communities is poor (Coningham & Allchin 1995). The majority of Early Historic excavations in Sri Lanka have focussed on urban forms or monastic sites (Coningham & Allchin 1995), and as a result it is impossible to see how the city functioned in relation to its hinterland. In this vacuum, this project represents the first multi-disciplinary attempt to model the development of an Early Historic city in South Asia, and to assess its impact on non-urban communities, and the environment within its hinterland. Therefore the project framed the following research questions:
- How did settlement and land use patterns respond to urbanisation?
- Was the plain’s environmental context altered during urbanisation?
- Did certain traits (writing, monuments, imports) become restricted to the city?
- How did urbanisation affect the organisation of craft production?
- Was the plain entirely abandoned in the eleventh century AD
We aim to model the networks between urban and non-urban communities and the environment within the plain of Anuradhapura over the course of two millennia.
In so doing, we will define and interpret the following:
1. The spatial location and sequence of urban and non-urban communities;
2. The morphology and function of urban and non-urban communities;
3. The subsistence base of urban and non-urban communities;
4. Soils and sedimentary sequences within the plain;
5. Resource patterns and enhancement within the plain.