Cannon ball recovery may throw fresh light on history of St. Angelo Fort

ASI officials viewing the cache of cannon balls found at the Portuguese-built Fort St. Angelo in Kannur on Saturday. —PHOTO: S.K. MOHAN  

The archaeological and historical significance of the huge cache of cannon balls unearthed at the 510-year-old Portuguese-built Fort St. Angelo here is still to be figured out by archaeologists and historians. But preliminary assumption is that the massive find will throw fresh light on the history of the fort and the region.

So far 5,000 cannon balls of different sizes and types have been dug out by a team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials from its Thrissur circle. Excavation is still going and more cannon balls are expected to be dug out. The fort had changed hands over the past five centuries — from Portuguese to the Dutch and to the British. While the ASI archaeologists are now trying to salvage and preserve the finds, they have also begun the initiative to trace its history.

Three sites

“It is for the first time that cannon balls in such a huge quantity have been unearthed from any such protected monuments in South India,” said T. Sreelakshmi, Superintending Archaeologist of the ASI Thrissur circle, who is on a visit to the site on Saturday. They were recovered from three sites close to the shore, she said. The fact that they were found one-foot below the surface showed that they had been discarded, she said, adding that the finds have increased the historical importance of the monument.

The iron cannon balls recovered from the site are of eight different types of varying weight and radius. Most of them are solid, though there are many hollow cannon balls. Preliminary inference of the archaeologists is that they could be from the British period. The ASI officials said arrangements will be made to preserve the balls within the fort after they are chemically treated. The team of ASI officials working on the site include Assistant Archaeologist C. Kumaran and Assistant Archaeologist (Chemical Wing) M.P. Sujith, and Surveyor L.R. Rakesh.

The storage of cannon balls was found while workers started digging an area within the fort for laying electric cable for a light-and-sound show being started there by the District Tourism Promotion Council.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 6:35:20 AM |

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