Citation Coningham R, Gunawardhana P, Davis C, Adikari G, Simpson I, Strickland K, Gilliland K & Manuel M (2012) Contextualising the Tabbova-Maradanmaduva 'culture': Excavations at Nikawewa, Tirappane district, Anuradhapura district, Sri lanka. South Asian Studies, 28 (1), pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/02666030.2012.659877
Abstract Terracotta figurines and artefacts discovered throughout Sri Lanka, especially in the North Central Province, have been traditionally assigned to the Tabbova-Maradanmaduva culture. Not a single stratigraphic excavation has been conducted at any site where a terracotta assemblage has been recovered, leading to a variety of divergent opinions as to the date of such artefacts. In addition, the corpus is often presumed to represent ‘folk art' spontaneously created by individuals or local communities to suit and satisfy immediate ritual, economic, and social concerns. Recent fieldwork conducted as part of the Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka) Project: The Hinterland (Phase II) has addressed the uncertainty surrounding the Tabbova-Maradanmaduva culture. Not only has excavation at the site of Nikawewa (D339) provided the first absolute scientific date for such an assemblage, but data collected from the project's sample universe suggests that the terracotta corpus exhibits a high degree of uniformity and that these assemblages may represent a formalised ritual structure parallel to that provided by Buddhist monasteries.