Dig at Empress Place. Source: Archaeology Unit, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.
The largest and most recent dig was conducted last year at Empress Place, which yielded 2.5 tonnes of artefacts. Aaron Kao, who had worked on this project, explained that archaeological digs normally happen when there are eminent threats to the site due to major construction works. If there are no threats, archaeologists would recommend for the sites to be undisturbed. He said archaeologists are not against development, and stressed the importance of such digs in recovering any important historical artefacts on the sites before it is developed.
Kao also explained the post-excavation process such as washing, cataloguing and labelling the artefacts. He said while the museums will display the important artefacts, the rest will be held at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and at NUS, as there are currently no storage facilities for archaeological artefacts in Singapore. He also discussed the challenges faced by archaeologists in maintaining a consistent speed for excavation due to manpower restraints, and funding. In conclusion, Ng also shared his hope for public education on the topic to be strengthened.
Dig Conducted at Empress Place. Source: Archaeology Unit, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute