The ‘Mahawanshaya’ (මහාවංශය), one of the world’s longest unbroken historical accounts presenting Sri Lanka’s history in chronological order from the 6th century BCE, has been included by UNESCO in the list of the 64 new items of documentary heritage inscribed on the Memory of the World International Register in 2023.
“One of the world’s longest unbroken historical accounts, the Mahavamsa is the first of its kind in South Asia, initiating a mature historiographic tradition, presenting Sri Lanka’s history in a chronological order from the 6th century BCE,” the UNESCO said.
“The authenticity of the facts provided in the document has been confirmed through archaeological research conducted in Sri Lanka and India. It is an important historical source in South Asia containing crucial information about the lifetime of the Buddha, the Emperor Asoka and the rise of Buddhism as a world religion. The document played a significant role in popularizing Buddhism in Southeast Asia and contributed singularly to the identity of Emperor Asoka in Indian history.
The existence of a number of manuscripts of the Mahavamsa in several countries as well as the transliteration and translation of the text to several Southeast Asian and European languages stand testimony to its immense historical, cultural, literal, linguistic and scholarly values,” it added.