21 February 2015
THE archaeological excavation at Empress Place, which Minister Lawrence Wong visited last week, is the latest in a series of excavations started 30 years ago.
Other places recently excavated include the back of the Victoria Theatre before its renovation, and the space between the old Supreme Court and City Hall before it was built over to connect the two buildings for a National Art Gallery.
The driving force behind these excavations, 30 years ago and today, remains the same. It is to search for and recover any historical artefacts before redevelopment takes place. The limited, albeit detailed, Chinese and South-east Asian historical records suggest that a settlement existed at the mouth of the Singapore River since the end of the 13th century, which grew during the 14th century into a kingdom and port-city called Singapura, lasting for a century. Apart from Sir Stamford Raffles and John Crawfurd, the second governor of Singapore, who gave early 19th century eyewitness accounts of the remnants of this settlement, there has been no further confirming evidence.
…Derek Heng is associate professor of humanities at Yale-NUS College, and Kwa Chong Guan is senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/02/2015