In 2017, Sri Lanka opened a recently discovered archaeological site for tourism called the Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs, located near Dambulla. This site can be seen as a quick side trip from Dambulla Cave Temples, Sigiriya Rock, Polonnaruwa, or Pidurangala Rock. It is carbon dated to roughly the founding of Anuradhapura ~500 BCE which predates Polonnaruwa. What makes this visit special is that it is still an active archeological site, with many secrets left to discover. It is also a reminder of prehistoric life in Sri Lanka.
Discovery and Development of Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs
The Megalithic Tombs were first discovered in 1970 by residential excavation at the site. The archeological significance was quickly recognized and paved the way for the surrounding land to be designated an archeological protected site. The first wave of excavation began in 1983-84 and again in 1988 and 1990. The associated settlement is about 200 meters east of the site. It is roughly 15 acres in size and has been excavated on successive digs between 1988 and 1991. The site opened as a tourist attraction in 2017 and can be visited for a nominal fee.