Archaeological Dig exhibition at the Fort Canning Park to be refreshed for the first time in 17 years
28 Oct 2018
- Updated exhibition is part of overall enhancement plans for Fort Canning Park
As part of enhancement plans announced earlier this year to restore the rich history of Fort Canning Park, the National Parks Board (NParks) will be refreshing the Archaeological Dig exhibition. First completed in 2001, the 17-year-old site houses an archaeological dig site, artefacts found around Fort Canning Park and educational panels on the history of the artefacts. NParks will be improving the exhibition area to allow for more hands-on interactive spaces. Interpretation panels on the various soil layers and embedded artefacts will also be updated and improved.
The historically significant site will include a new outdoor garden and the area will be renamed Artisan’s Garden as it is believed to be the site of a 14th century palace workshop. The existing shelter of the exhibition will be expanded to include a wider gallery space, new interpretative panels and display showcases. There will be three zones within the new site. The first zone will have an introduction to the site as well as an open space for workshops. There will also be a sand pit where organised groups can experience simulated hands-on archaeological excavation activities. The second zone will have multimedia educational panels on the artefacts including recent discoveries, giving a glimpse of past life on the hill. Artefacts from the 14th to 19th centuries will also be on display. The third zone will feature interactive educational play features for visitors of all ages to learn about archaeology and the history of the site. As part of educational opportunities for visitors to learn more about archaeology and the history of Fort Canning Park, NParks will also be developing a range of archaeology-related programmes and activities.
The site will be closed from November 2018 and reopened in June 2019.
Archaeological dig to revisit the current excavation site
Before the commencement of works to the exhibition space, NParks organised an archaeological dig in partnership with Professor John Miksic from the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Associate Professor Goh Geok Yian, Associate Chair (Research), School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The dig, which commenced on 2 September 2018 and ends today, revisits the current site to explore portions that had been left intact during the earlier excavations. In particular, the site has a dense 14th century soil layer and the dig uncovered more evidence of the economic activities that took place at this side of Fort Canning Hill in the 14th century. These include glass beads, earthenware and stoneware. These new findings will also be included in the updated displays.
Around 100 volunteers from the community were involved in the dig, including history teachers from the Ministry of Education, students from NTU, Hwa Chong Institution, Sembawang Secondary School, Clementi Town Secondary School, as well as members of the public who had earlier expressed interest in volunteering with Fort Canning Park. All volunteers underwent a briefing and orientation by Professor Miksic and Dr Goh prior to the dig.
The plans for the refreshed archaeological dig exhibition are part of the overall enhancement plans to restore the rich heritage of Fort Canning Park and its surroundings, announced by NParks in February this year.
Updates to overall enhancement plans for Fort Canning Park
Works for the various enhancements to Fort Canning Park are ongoing. The Royal Garden, First Botanic Garden, Raffles Garden, Farquhar Garden and the first phase of Jubilee Park will be ready by June 2019, in conjunction with the Bicentennial exhibition which will be held at the re-purposed Fort Canning Centre.
The enhancement plans include improving connectivity to and within Fort Canning Park. NParks is putting in place covered escalators which will allow visitors to reach Fort Canning Centre via Jubilee Park, and Fort Canning Park from Farquhar Garden. The connections will also provide easier access from Fort Canning MRT station to Fort Canning Centre. These will also be ready by June 2019.
Armenian Street, which will be pedestrianised and turned into a park, will be opened progressively from first quarter of 2019. When completed, this will create a pedestrian-friendly connection from Civic District and Bras Basah-Bugis Precinct to Fort Canning Park, and provide a new space for more outdoor activities and events, contributing to the vibrancy and synergy in the city centre. To further improve walkability to and within Fort Canning Park, NParks is also exploring the permanent closure of a portion of Canning Rise. Key stakeholders including the National Museum of Singapore, National Archives of Singapore, Singapore Philatelic Museum, Wesley Methodist Church and Registry of Marriages have been consulted on the proposal since January 2018, and NParks will continue working closely with them.
(For a map showing the proposed portion of Canning Rise to be closed, please refer to the Annex.)
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Map showing proposed portion of Canning Rise to be closed (highlighted in green below)
[Picture Credits: National Parks Board]
Images showing the existing view (top row) and artist impressions (bottom row) of Canning Rise before and after closure.
[Picture Credits: National Parks Board]
Information accurate as of 28 October 2018.