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HERE is nothing to indicate the date when the first coinage was introduced into Ceylon from India; all that can be said regarding it is that coins were in the country in the second half of the third century B.C. I myself saw two silver Purānas or Salākas, nearly square but rather thick coins without any punch-marks, resembling the copper coin numbered 20 on Plate I of Sir A. Cunningham's Coins of Ancient India, which were found in 1884 with the four relicreceptacles that had evidently been deposited in the relicchamber of the Yaṭṭhāla dāgaba, built by King Mahā-Nāga or his son in the third century B.C. at Tissa or Magama, the ancient capital of southern Ceylon. I have already described the relic-cases in the chapter which deals with the ancient dagabas.

The Buddhist monk who was in charge of the largest dagaba at Tissa, which was undoubtedly built by Mahā-Nāga, informed me in 1884 that some similar coins made of copper, with small punch-marks on their surface, the shapes of which he could not describe, were also found in the débris thrown round its base by its despoilers. They were all replaced in the relic-chamber when it was closed during the restoration of the structure, but the description that was given of them leaves no doubt as to their presence at that work also.

The histories of Ceylon contain no statement that invaders held the southern part of the island before the eleventh century, in the early half of which it is recorded in the Mahāvansa (ii, p. 90) that the forces of the King of Sōla occupied that part of the country and despoiled many wihāras. Even if the relic-chambers of these two dagabas had been broken into at that time (of which, however, there is no record) it is improbable that any Sinhalese king who restored them

afterwards would think it necessary to place such early coins in the new relic-rooms. The presence of the coins therefore is very strong evidence that it was only at the spoliation in the time of the Pandian king Magha (1215-1236 A.D.) that the relic-chambers were rifled. The finding of the carnelian gem belonging to the royal seal, to which allusion has been made in a former chapter, is a further proof that this was the case. At the Yaṭṭhāla dāgaba, which I often saw before its restoration, I could not observe the slightest evidence of any restoration or rebuilding of the dome, though I looked carefully for it; only one size of bricks was used in it, and those in the dome were all unbroken and evidently undisturbed ones. It may be concluded, therefore, that the relic-chambers remained intact until the thirteenth century; and that the Puranas were placed in these dāgabas in the third century B.C., and were lost or thrown away by the persons who broke into the structures in the time of the Tamil king Magha.

In 1885, several of these coins were discovered at Mulleittivu under circumstances that gave them a special interest. A man who was in charge of a small coconut garden on the north side of the town, where the soil all around is full of fragments of a rough type of pottery, as the result of an unusual fit of energy determined to level a mound of sandy material, and to utilise the soil for filling up some hollows near it. When he reached the level of the adjoining ground he was surprised to meet with the top of a large ring of coarse earthenware such as is used in Ceylon by some of the Kandian Sinhalese for lining wells at their houses. On clearing the sandy soil out of the inside of this ring he found others below it, and discovered that he had unearthed an ancient shallow well at the bottom of which there was fresh water. The rings were 3 feet in internal diameter; the top one was 6 inches deep and the others about 8 inches. At the present day such welllinings are from 2 feet to 2 feet in diameter, and about an inch thick.

At a short distance above the water-level, and embedded in the sand, he obtained a number of silver Purānas, and

some thin oblong copper plaques which proved to be an entirely new type of money 1 described by me in the previous year from specimens obtained at Tissa. The total number of Purānas was 51, and of the plaques 16. The late Mr. R. Massie, the Assistant Government Agent of the district, obtained nine of the plaques, out of which he presented four to the ColomboMuseum, two to me, and at a later date two to the British Museum. I got the other seven when I visited the place shortly afterwards.

It would appear that the original owner of this money, possibly fearing the result of some disturbance or war, first threw some sand into his well and placed his small stock of cash on it; he then filled up the well and to mark the spot raised over it the mound to which its modern discovery was due, little expecting that more than two thousand years would elapse before it would be disinterred.

In addition to these coins four other oblong plaques were found by me at Tissa in 1883, in excavating channels from two sluices at the Tissa tank, and I obtained two halves of others. from a neighbouring village. The position of these coins enables us to fix the date of the earliest type of this money as yet discovered.

At the end of the embankment of the Tissa tank, on the high side of a hollow or small water-course, there had been a village of potters and other artizans who were accustomed to throw the ashes and rubbish from their houses and furnaces into the hollow, which thus became a kind of 'Kjökken-mödding.' Afterwards, soil carried down by rains covered up this deposit, and eventually filled all the hollow to the depth of eighteen feet at the deepest part. By a lucky accident, a channel from a new sluice was cut by me through this very site, and numerous articles belonging to the ancient workpeople were met with, including thousands of fragments of pottery, some few of which were inscribed with letters of the

1 Doubts have been expressed as to whether the plaques were coins or votive offerings, but I was led to understand that the authorities of the British Museum do not share them. I have shown below that all the early Indian and Ceylon coins were amulets as well as money.

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