Ancient wall stays, tower goes

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4 December 2006 (The Star)

Ancient wall stays, tower goes

The ancient wall discovered in the middle of the town will not be demolished. Instead, it is the 110m revolving tower project being built at the site that has to make way.

“The ancient fort cannot be damaged by a modern project as the Heritage Act stops us from doing that,” Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim told reporters after visiting the site near the historical Stadhuys building yesterday.

Dr Rais, who described the discovery as a “gem of a historical find”, said he would present an initial report to the Cabinet in two weeks, with recommendations on the site’s preservation. The wall is believed to date back to the era of Portuguese rule in Malacca (1511-1641).

Ancient wall found beneath Malacca

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30 November – 3 December (Various news sources, see below) – The news broke while I was bedridden with a particularly nasty fever, which explains the flurry of updates today. An piece of wall dated to Dutch Malacca was unearthed while work was underway for a controversial revolving tower in the historic city center. Here’s the news as it broke:

30 November 2006 (The Star) – Ancient wall find halts tower work
1 December 2006 (The Star) – Blocks similar to earlier find
1 December 2006 (New Straits Times) – Excavation for Malacca tower project unearths ruins of Dutch fort
1 December 2006 (Bernama) – Survey tower site possible Dutch fort
2 December 2006 (The Star) – Digging deep to verify Malacca wall status
2 December 2006 (New Straits Times) – Ancient wall most likely part of a Dutch fort
3 December 2006 (The Star) – Mohd Khalil visits site of ancient wall
3 December 2006 (Bernama) – Ancient wall discovery needs further study, says Rais

Strangely enough, I was just in Malacca last weekend. The city is certainly very historical, and there’s a lot of living heritage present as well. For now, the work on the tower has been suspended for a couple of weeks while archaeologists try to ascertain the structure the wall belongs to. The unearthed structure is believed to be part of a Dutch fort and may date between 1641 and 1824.

Proposed Malacca project to be re-sited to preserve old wall

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4 December 2006 (The Star) – I think this bit of news will bring much joy to the locals, who have been campaigning against the tower for some time.

Proposed Malacca project to be re-sited to preserve old wall

Researchers are excited by the discovery of part of an ancient wall at the construction site of the proposed tower in Malacca.

They believe it could be the remnants of the watchtower called the Middelsburgh Bastion built by the Portuguese in the 16th century to monitor the movements of boats at the entrepot.

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim will recommend to the Cabinet that the site be preserved and the tower moved to another location.

Related Books:
The Malay Sultanates 1400-1700 (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia)

Ancient Shipwrecks Found in Straits of Malacca

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30 July 2006 (The Star) – Three shipwrecks, including what could possibly be the oldest European shipwreck in the region have been discovered along the Straits of Malacca by an Australian marine archaeologist.

The Star, 30 July 2006

Ancient Shipwrecks Found

Well-known Australian maritime archaeologist Dr Michael Flecker, who has carried out more than 100 explorations in numerous countries around the region, made the latest discovery during a blanket survey along the Straits last year…

He also revealed pictures he had taken of cannons, cannon balls, bones of animals that were consumed on the ships and broken Ming dynasty porcelain.

Dr Flecker is the managing director of Maritime Explorations and has been involved in underwater explorations for the past 20 years. He said the warship was located in an area between Pulau Upeh and Pulau Panjang off the coast of Malacca.

“So far, based on our research which has been done some four nautical miles from the coast of Malacca (within Federal waters), the ship could have been a Portuguese vessel under the command of Admiral Coutinho. It sank in 1583 during a battle.


Related Books:
Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure in Southeast Asia by T. Wells