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  Proof Delivery Form Journal and Article number:  ANT 2010-0223 Number of colour figures:  Nil Number of pages (not including this page):  6 Antiquity Please print out your proof, mark any corrections needed, and return it, together with the offprintorder form and signed copyright transfer form either: •  Scanned and saved as a PDF attachment to assistant@antiquity.ac.uk  •  As hard copy by post to  Antiquity  , King’s Manor, York YO1 7EP, UK •  By fax to + 44 (0) 1904 433994Please ensure that the paperwork is returned no later than 10 days after receipt.Queries raised by the sub-editor are listed below; the text to which the queries refer is flagged inthe margins of the proof. Please ensure that you answer these queries. •  You are responsible for correcting your proofs! Errors not found may appear in the published journal. •  The proof is sent to you for correction of typographical errors only. Revision of the substanceof the text is not permitted. •  Please answer carefully any queries from the sub-editor. •  A new copy of a figure must be provided if correction is required.  Notes:  1. The quality of half-tone and colour will be checked by the Editorial Office.2. If you have any queries, please contact the Editorial Office by email (assistant@antiquity.ac.uk) orby telephone on 01904 433 994 (+44 1904 433 994 from outside the UK). Queries for author:Queries for  Antiquity  Editorial Office: Please return this form with your proof        D   e     b   a    t   e Social construction and deconstructionof a ‘theocracy’ Susantha Goonatilake ∗  Archaeology aims at imagining past societies, using physical data together with, if available,historical documentation. But this imaginative process is bound by factors widely discussedin social epistemology, including unequal social relations among researchers. Such unequalgeopolitics in knowledge has been explored by the present author and others (Goonatilake1982, 1984, 1999, 2001; Clough 2001). The present exercise aims to investigate and question the social and intellectual contextin which Anuradhapura, the first capital in Sri Lanka, has been interpreted as belonging to a ‘theocracy’(Coningham etal  .2007).PrehistoricarchaeologyhasdatedthesitetoaroundtheninthcenturyBCatwhichtimeitwasoneofthelargestcitiesinSouthAsia.Acontinuoussetofchronicles,authenticatedbyphysicalremains,documentthecontinuationofthecityfromat least the fourth/third century BC up to the eleventh century AD, when it was sacked by south Indian invaders. The written evidence includes Sinhalese chronicles (written in Pali),descriptionsofthecitybyforeigntravellersandalargenumberofinscriptionsdatingbacktothe third century BC. This documentation describes the secular roles of personages such askings and ministers. Although there is of course a strong monastic presence, the monasteries were known as centres of both religious and secular learning. In spite of this, Coningham et al  . argue, mainly from archaeological evidence, that Anuradhapura was a ‘theocracy’, a heavily loaded word with connotations that are inappropriate for Anuradhapura. The theocracy thesis of Coningham  Anuradhapura was the Sri Lankan capital for 1500 years. It featured monasteries and lakesand attracted merchants engaged in the Indian Ocean trade. Coningham excavated in thecity for a number of years, noting a ‘ huge volume  ’ of exotic and imported material found within the city, giving an ‘ extremely rich artefactual sequence  ’ which allowed the developmentof Indian Ocean networks of trade from early times to Anuradhapura’s abandonment in theeleventh century (Coningham 2007: 703).In2003heturnedhisattentiontoAnuradhapura’shinterland,mappingsitesthatappearedon the surface. As a result of the first three seasons, he advances ‘ a number of working hypotheses  ’abouttherelationshipbetweenthetownandtheruralsettlementsthatsurroundedit (p. 713). He proposes a major administrative role for the monasteries, and interpretedthem as belonging to a self-regulating hierarchy (p. 717). He finds analogies in the hydraulicand irrigation systems with Khmer polities, and in the distribution and size of the stupas(commemorative monuments) with the Maya pyramids (p. 716). Citing only a Westernauthority he states that ‘ most South Asian Early Historic states are considered to be almost  ∗ Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 96 Ananda Coomarswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka (Email:susanthagoona@gmail.com)  ANTIQUITY   85 (2011): 1–6 http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/085/ant0850001.htm 1
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