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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Singapore’s World War II–Era Fortifications Explored

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

SINGAPORE—A new archaeological project focused on the island of Ubin in northeast Singapore aims to solve a mystery regarding its role in a twentieth-century fortification system, according to a report from The Straits Times. A battery on the island’s north shore was built in the late 1930s to defend the Strait of Johor against enemy ships and was meant to hold guns able to shoot 70 rounds per minute. There is no evidence, however, that guns were ever mounted on the emplacements, and archaeologists hope their survey will shed light on why that is. “One school of thought is that (the British) ran out of money,” said Lim Chen Sian, a fellow at the Yusof Ishak Institute. It is also possible that the survey will find evidence that the battery was armed. “If guns were mounted here, they would have had gunners manning the fort, and there would be a lot of debris—soldiers would be drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, eating and throwing trash,” said Lim. “If we can find that, the entire assemblage of artifacts would suggest this place has been used.” For more, go to “Letter From Singapore: The Lion City’s Glorious Past.”

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