Portuguese-era artefacts looted from Malacca river

500-year-old Portuguese-era artefacts have been illegally recovered from the Malacca River in Malaysia and sold, reportedly to antique dealers in Singapore.

Coins recovered from the Malacca River, The Star 20110921

Ancient treasure found – and sold
The Star, 21 September 2011

Malacca to act on theft of ancient treasure
The Star, 22 September 2011

Agents of scrap metal dealers have been selling old Portuguese coins, bullets and religious amulets that were unearthed during a recent landslip along the banks of the Malacca River to antique brokers from Singapore.

The artefacts, the most valuable of which found so far was a cannon ball that fetched RM500, were discovered after an ancient jetty at Stadhuys collapsed in May.

The artefacts are believed to be about 500 years old.

Full story here and here.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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