Kozhikode

War artefacts of yore unearthed at Kunhali Marakkar fort

The artefacts were discovered by students of Kunhali Marakkar HSS while they were playing in the school compound.

The artefacts were discovered by students of Kunhali Marakkar HSS while they were playing in the school compound.   | Photo Credit: HAND OUT

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Cast-iron cannon ball and musket bullet found during digging work

A cast-iron cannon ball and a musket bullet, reportedly more than 450 years old, have been discovered during a digging work at Kunhali Marakkar Fort at Kottakkal near Vadakara in Kozhikode district.

In a stroke of serendipity, these projectiles of the post-medieval era were found by Standard VI students Abhiraj, Vaishnav, Zinan, Navaneeth K.V., Surya Prakash, and Sreejith of the Kunhali Marakkar Higher Secondary School while they were playing in the school compound. “Sensing something of historical importance, the curious students brought them to the nearby Kunjali Marakkar Memorial Museum,” K.P Sadhu, officer-in charge of the museum, said.

It was also the first time a musket bullet and a muzzle-loaded firearm were discovered from Kottakkal. Earlier, hundreds of cannon balls had been recovered from the historical site. “Previously, 60 sovereigns of gold ornaments with Ethiopian mark were found near the Kunhali Marakkar monument in 1995. Now, the artefacts have been carefully maintained in the Treasury Department,” N.K. Ramesh, also attached to the museum, said.

The artefacts were found at a place where digging work was on for the construction of a school building.

More priceless artefacts could be lying buried in the area. However, it is impossible to carry out an excavation for various reasons such as large-scale settlements. The fort at Iringal, Mr. Ramesh said, which gave the name Kottakkal to the place, was built during the period of Kunhali Marakkar III (Pate Marakkar) during 1571-75. The structure was constructed to protect the sea-coast from attacks from Portuguese who had been aiming to establish a monopoly of spices trade from Malabar.

Mr. Ramesh said the Zamorins of Calicut had helped Kunhali Marakkar construct the fort. Besides, experts from the Mughal empire also chipped in.

However, after the death of Kunhali Marakkar III following an accident at Panthalayani in 1594, his nephew Mohammed Ali (Kunhali Marakkar IV) decided to strengthen the fort.

Thereafter, a rift developed between him and the Zamorins and eventually, the Portuguese attacked and demolished the fort. Kunhali Marakkar IV and his lieutenants were captured and executed in Goa in 1600 AD.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:49:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/war-artefacts-of-yore-unearthed-at-kunhali-marakkar-fort/article29303958.ece

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