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My native Singapore may be a shopping paradise and a culinary kaleidoscope, but if you’re interested in her archaeology one only has to look at Fort Canning Hill (which, incidentally, sits behind the National Museum of Singapore). This feature from the Bangkok Post showcases the deep history of Singapore’s Forbidden Hill.

It was also called Government Hill at one time and been referred to variously as Bukit Tuan Bonham (Sir Bonham’s Hill), Bukit Bendera (Flag Hill) and Singapore Hill. Several major historic events took place here including Lt Gen Arthur Percival’s official surrender in early 1942 to Gen Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Imperial Japanese Army. Now dubbed a historical park, th hill is also a popular venue for cultural performances and picnics.

Archaeological excavations carried out there in 1984 unveiled evidence to support the existence of an ancient kingdom called Temasek, later named Singapura (Sanskrit for Lion City). The hill was the site of a palatial resort of the Majapahit kings and many ancient Malay and Chinese artefacts were dug up there. A natural pool created by a spring on its southwestern side is believed to be have been a private bathing place for women of the royal court at one time and later served as a source of water for ships anchored in the harbour. Temasek is thought to have been an important regional trading hub until it was raided and pillaged, late in the 14th century, by foreign forces.

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