SDS 2.22 – Dig A Little Deeper

As we signed the indemnity forms, I realize that if we were to accidentally activate zombies, mummies or strange portals, it wouldn’t be the archaeologist’s fault and we’d have to FIGHT TO SURVIVE!

Or something like that.

However, there were no zombies, mummies or strange portals… In this episode of ARCHAEOLOGICAL ADVENTURE! Wooo. It’s still fun nonetheless.

And so,  it was in between the old supreme court and City Hall! As you walk from well, either side you’ll see two dig sites.

It wasn’t this one. I’m not exactly sure what they’re doing there sifting through the soil for though.

It was this one! An archaeological dig in the middle of the two buildings, surrounded by city life! It looks random and ironic in a way somehow.

Mintea was the first including me of our adventure crew to hit the dig. So after signing the forms, we were put to task by Shien of the South East Asian Archaeologists. They had previous excavations at Fort Canning, the padang area and various places in Singapore. We were lucky to find out where and when his next one was to sign up for this! Volunteers there were from university, researchers or were just people who were interested in helping out.

Firstly, we were armed with trowels and dustpans! Secondly… Uh, how to get down there? Ahhh, going down the ladder was quite intimidating at first as we learned how to do so. First, you sat on the edge of it and then “walked” down the ladder.

Intimidating because you could actually flop the ladder the opposite way and then, you’ll most probably be falling face down in dirt pit with crunchy pointy things.

So the two of us were shown to one section to dig up. Mind you, dig up with trowels and not shovels because you needed to see if there were pieces and bits of things that was hidden by the soil of time!! We filled our buckets with the dirt and put it up so that others (the rest of the adventure crew had arrived by then) could screen it for tiny pieces!

To screen the dirt, the buckets are tipped over a mesh thing and the other person has to sieve through it, shaking the apparatus. Small ceramic pieces or stones will then be left on it and those pieces will be put in a basket so that Shien could consolidate what pieces came from which section of the dig!

Shake, shake, shake! Shake it! A tedious task indeed especially once you dig deeper, the soil gets more moist somehow.

On our side of the dig, this is what Mintea and I found! Celedon pieces, pottery and a glass bottle! Shien showed us that it was most likely hand blown instead of machine manufactured because of the unevenness of the glass. Rather fascinating since it is estimated that all these were around the 1300s?!

Like what the heck? All these artifacts buried in the city makes you think if you dig REALLY deep, you might something more exciting too. DUH DUH DUH!

Meanwhile, it was getting really hot and even though I wore long sleeves, a hat, long pants, gloves and sunscreen, I could still feel the burn of the sun! Wear those if you’re going excavating by the way. You might think wearing less is more cooling but no, not really. It just means more of you to burn.

Since we were to leave in the afternoon for the write in at The Arts House (which is just the building behind it) for Nanowrimo, Shien brought us on a tour of what they had found and whatnot! They made a lot of progress by the time we went to help out.

It included large pieces like the urn on the first picture there. Not really sure what’s in it but they can X-ray it somehow… I flipped the picture around for the second so you could read it easier since it’s the lid of a cherry toothpaste jar! The third is a metal helmet from WWII. That one was from a previous dig but he showed it to us since we were interested in it. All the while, we kept asking him if they found skeletons or dead bodies before.

Alas no, he and his team of volunteers and researchers have not.

After that, we walked out of the holding area for the latest pieces and he brought out a black case and pulled these out! They were the more fragile/precious pieces from previous digs around Singapore.

Why yes… They DID find a bit of gold before too!

This is a silver Spanish galleon! The actual colour is like the picture on the left. I have enhanced both pictures so you could see the details on it since it is rather faint in real life! Now, what’s a SPANISH silver galleon doing in Singapore? Were the trade routes that cool or were some Spaniards here in the past somehow, trading with the British here?

OR WAS IT AN OFF CHANCE THAT A SPANIARD AND A BRITISH EXPLORER SAILED AND RENDEVOUS-ED TO SINGAPORE? Sailing away from the demons of their past, towards an exotic tropical locale instead! Etc, etc etc. Of course Singapore was not called Singapore back then but Temasek.

See, the whole archaelogical bits and pieces including history lesson was very informative to us since it’s research for our own stories.

We went by the place once more in December since the dig finished on 30th November. It looks like it’s all resealed! Well, the whole experience was fun and REALLY good for plot research. Did you know we don’t actually have any laws on artifacts found here? Like, if you actually did have a garden, dig it up and found treasure or something, YOU CAN SELL IT.

Hence, the total plot worthiness of it all of being ethical or what if you found historical mystical things?

Meanwhile, I wonder how they resealed the area though. There were different grades of soil there and sand. Sand because the whole area is actually a beach! Utterly fascinating since with reclamation and everything, there’s lots of buildings around the area now when all it was was just… ocean and sand. So that’s it. We helped out with the dig and came out with more than just artifacts.

We got an adventure.

Ps. Here’s another take of it by Deafknee who went to one of the days earlier than us so you can see the difference in the deepness of the dig. Also, apparently there was quite a lot of people who went there via info through my blog. Heh, that’s very interesting.

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Well, this is seriously Sarah and that's all you need to know for now.

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