Archaeologists to examine ‘antique’ boat in Bangladesh

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A three-member team from the Department of Archaeology of Khulna Division yesterday set off for Kuakata where an ancient wooden boat recently surfaced from beneath the sandy beach. 

People gather in Kuakata to see the ancient boat that recently surfaced from beneath the sandy beach [Credit: Star]

The ancient boat, believed to be belonging to the first Rakhine settlers from the Arakan province in Myanmar over 200 years ago, was found on June 29 during low tide. 

As soon as the boat surfaced, a group of local people started looting precious brass sheets from its joints, said a Daily Star report on July 4. 

Contacted, Abdul Baten, regional director (acting) of Department of Archaeology, Khulna Division, said on seeing the report and being informed by locals from Kuakata, the Khulna division office sent three experts to assess the importance of the wooden boat. 

Research Assistant Md Golam Ferdous is leading the team, which consists of draughtsman Md Jahandar Ali and photographer Md Abdus Sama. 

The team was assigned to send a thorough report detailing their findings to the Khulna division office, Baten said. 

“We will forward the report to our headquarters in Dhaka for further direction,” he said. The director, however, did not comment on the antiquity of the boat saying, “We are yet to see the report from our team.” 

“Quite large and partially buried beneath the sandy beach, the boat will be difficult to heave up. We may have to wait till winter for the water to recede,” Baten said. 

“Then there is budget to consider. A venture like this needs a budget and planning,” the director said adding that all these await the report and direction from the head office in Dhaka. 

Yves Marre, who initiated a traditional boat museum under the banner “Protection and Preservation of National Naval Heritage of Bangladesh”, told The Daily Star that if the boat is indeed 200 years old, it is a national treasure. 

French born Bangladeshi, Marre has so far replicated 65 types of traditional wooden boats of Bangladesh and exhibited those in France and other European countries. 

Talks are underway to soon open an exhibition of those boats in the naval museum of Greenwich in London, he said. 

Consisting of timber made of Gorjon tree, the boat is 72 feet long and 22.5 feet wide and only two feet of its upper portion has emerged from the sandy beach near the tamarisk garden in Kuakata. 

Source: The Daily Star [July 11, 2012]

1 COMMENT

  1. Exited to know about this discovery. Centre for Archaeology and Museology, Assam University, having expertise in shipwreck excavations would love to join the investigation if concerned authorities feel fit.

    Prof Alok Tripathi
    Head of Dept.

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