Kuching Police Station construction work yields valuable artifacts

Some of the artefacts recovered at the site.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 17: Historical artifacts with most of them consisting broken pieces of porcelain, ceramic, glass bottle and potsherd have been unearthed from the compound of the Kuching Central Police Station where constructions to upgrade the drainage in the area is ongoing.

In a live broadcast by Sarawak Edition, Sarawak Museum Department Archeology Unit staff have started working on site since this morning to dig up the artifacts buried about a meter in depth.

The Sarawak Museum Department Enforcement Section curator Dayang Huzainah revealed that they were informed of the discovery by the Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak.

An officer works around the area to dig up and remove the artefacts stuck in the soil.

According to an officer known only as Nick during the live interview, some of the fragments of artifacts were expected to be from China, Europe and the Middle East based on the motifs and paintings on the items.

One of the more perfect pieces of artifacts discovered was a glass pill bottle which was still intact with the wording BW & Co. 1880 from London. There was also a small flat stone with writings on it.

Nick also informed that a survey to map and document the site will be carried out in the next two to three days.

An intact glass pill bottle from London, circa 1880, found during the excavation.

“The main objective of the archeology study is to see whether there is an archeological context present.

“We will set up the archaeological site of about 1×2 meter to excavate and study the cultural level of human activities,” he said of the works to possibly reconstruct the history of the area.

The Sarawak Museum Department team will also look into the history of the Kuching Central Police Station to study the evidence of settlement or human occupation and activity before the police station was built.

“This area could possibly be a river. And after works are done, a full report will be compiled,” he added.

Dayang Huzaimah at site to ensure the artifacts will be brought back to the Museum Department for study.

Meanwhile, Dayang Huzaimah emphasised that any discoveries during construction works must be reported to the Sarawak Museum Department.

“Under the Sarawak Heritage Ordinance 2019, any discovery of ancient artifacts must be reported to the Sarawak Museum or hand them over directly. It is against the law to keep the items.

“All the artifacts will be brought to the Museum to carry out a study to find out the history such as period the items were made and other details,” she explained of the discovery as the window into the past of this old quarter of Kuching.

She added that a similar discovery had occurred sometime in 2018 around the area including Padang Pasir on the railway tracks.

More works will be conducted on-site including pumping out water from the areas which had been dug as there may be other secrets underneath. -DayakDaily

Nick explaining the works that will be carried out at site in the next couple of days.
The area has been cordoned for by the Sarawak Museum Department team to carry out excavation works.