Skeletal remains of Dutch officer unearthed in Galle Fort
Human bones believed to be that of a Dutch state officer buried
during the period of Dutch rule in Sri Lanka have been unearthed during
an excavation carried out within the Galle Fort World Heritage City by
the Archeological Department of Galle yesterday.
Galle Mayor Methsiri De Silva is being
briefed by Acting Assistant Director of Galle Archeological
Department Suminda Porambage on the new findings.
The research officers who engaged in excavating the plot of land on
Church Street believed to be a former burial ground during the colonial
rule of Both Portuguese and Dutch had noticed a number of human bone
fragments together with some iron handles apparently that of a coffin.
The Acting Assistant Director of Galle Archeological Department
Saminda Porambage on observing the discovery had informed Dr. Nimal
Perera, the director Excavations of the Archeological Department about
the findings who in turn ordered a temporary halt to the excavation
activities until his arrival in Galle next Monday (17) for a further
archeological survey before excavating the site deeper.
A prominent researcher of Galle Fort history Hemantha Situge ,
Attorney at Law told the Daily News that the site had initially been a
Protuguese period Cemetery (1506 - 1640 )and thereafter during Dutch
rule the site had been the Groot Kerk Kerhorf which means the Grand
Church Cemetery during 1646 to 1860 which belonged to the Dutch
Consistory which donated the land to Chas P.Hayley and Company on lease
after mutually agreeing not to carry out any new constructions other
than the ones in progress . However during the recent past a local
entrepreneur had carried out a business for quite a long time until he
shifted his business out of Galle Fort.
Situge further commenting on the historical background of the site
disclosed that according to historical records a former Dutch governor
in Sri Lanka named Jan Maatzuker had been buried in this cemetery and
later his remains were dispatched to Bathavia ( now Indonesia) , which
was the then headquarters of Dutch rule. The lawyer referring to early
archives also revealed that to bury a body in this historic cemetery a
charge of Rix Dollar 100 (then Dutch currency) had been levied by the
authorities. A proper and scientific research into this archeological
site of utmost importance would unearth much more vital information
about the foreign rule in Sri Lanka, attorney Situge further said.