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Volunteers working at the SCC.

More volunteers working at the SCC while a crowd watches.

Associate Professor John Miksic contemplating at the SCC.


In April 2003, the Singapore Cricket Club has graciously permitted a test excavation on their grounds. The Padang site holds great potential for clarifying numerous points regarding early Singapore. Laying of cables beneath the Padang in the early 1990s (along a line extending from Coleman Street to the Esplanade) revealed a layer of 14th-century artifacts. No archaeological investigation was however permitted at that time. The Padang is important because it lies further away from the Singapore River than sites previously investigated. A sample of the density of artifacts, and their nature, from the Padang (if any exist) will make it much easier to estimate the size of ancient Singapore’s population, the range of activities carried out here, and the allocation of space for various purposes.

The Padang, meaning open field in the Malay language, was created by the British colonists in the 1820s and since then no major construction or developments has taken place, hence the chances of finding undisturbed 14th century strata is greatly improved.

An initial test pit of 5x2 meters was excavated in order to test the potential of the Padang. The wealth of finds resulted in the extension of the work period as well as the size of the test pit to a total of 10x2 meters. An array of artifacts were recovered, from indigenously made earthenware, imported Chinese trade ceramics, Tang, Song and even Jin Dynasty coinages, to metal slag and glass beads and bangles. The Singapore Cricket Club generously granted permission to excavate on their grounds from 15th April through 1st May 2003, and provided not only the welcomed tent shelter but also much enthusiastic support from the management and members.