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* U.S. Ambassador views rare Sri Lankan artifacts preserved with Rs. 4 million grant
Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 06:57 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 23, Colombo: The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele Sison visited the Yatala Museum today to view rare antiquities found during the excavations of Yatala Dagaba, which were preserved with a $30,000 (approximately Rs. 4 million) grant from the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation.

During her visit, the Ambassador met with Department of Archeology Acting Assistant Director of Museums Palitha Weerasingha, Regional Deputy Director Ms. Wasanthi Alahakoon, and Archaeological Research Assistant Ms. Anusha Kasturi.

Ms. Kasturi explained the enhanced cataloguing systems and the new web-based accessible Internet search database, and briefed the Ambassador on the training and educational programs now available for Sri Lankan and non-Sri Lankan researchers and students.

"I am so pleased that this grant not only benefited the Yatala Museum research staff, administrators, educators and curators; but it also extended the cultural relevance of Sri Lankan artifacts to students and museum-goers all over the world," the Ambassador said during her tour.

"Modernizing a culturally-rich museum such as the Yatala Museum with state-of-the-art Internet databases and cataloguing systems means that interested parties globally can now also explore, uncover and appreciate the dynamic and rich Sri Lankan culture."

Many of the artifacts discovered and catalogued underscore the antiquity of Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka and also reflect the island's early local trade and international commercial networks. Grants such as this from the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation allows for the restoration and preservation of timeless treasures. This grant is one of nine that have been awarded to Sri Lanka since 2001, reflecting a commitment of nearly half a million dollars towards the protection and preservation of Sri Lankan culture. The U.S. Embassy said it is proud to be able to contribute to the preservation of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage for generations to come.

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