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Saturday, June 10, 2017

ANCIENT UNDERGROUND TUNNEL IN MELAKA FOUND

image: http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2017/06/09/19/15/main_ax_1006_p3b_40p_ax_1.ashx/?w=620&h=413&crop=1&hash=0922630F65340CAEDDCAEBC5592E4817667845F9
Intriguing find: The historical dig where the tunnel was found at Banda Hilir in Melaka.
Intriguing find: The historical dig where the tunnel was found at Banda Hilir in Melaka.
 
MELAKA: An old secret tunnel linking St Paul’s Hill to St John’s Hill has been found, with the state museum body saying more explorations will follow.
Melaka Museum Authority general manager Datuk Khamis Abas said he always believed that the underground pathway existed, based on research by archaeologists.
Both locations are about 5km apart, with St Paul’s Hill inside the Unesco World Heritage Site’s buffer zone and St John’s Hill in Ujong Pasir.
Khamis said more study was needed to find out the actual distance and whether any artefacts were left there by the Portuguese when they fled the Dutch conquerors in 1641 or by the Dutch themselves.
St Paul’s Hill has a hidden doorway near the entrance of the fort, Khamis said.
“It was probably used as a secret escape route by the Portuguese. We only recently confirmed its existence,” he told The Star yesterday.
Legend has it that a dragon-like creature guards the tunnel, but “that is only a myth”, laughed Khamis.
There was a story circulating that several archaeologists from Germany were exploring the underground pathway in the early 1990s and quit after their tracker dog was mauled by a creature inside.
Many historians, including Munshi Abdullah, have also told of the tunnel at St Paul’s Hill.
In Hikayat Abdullah, published in 1849, Munshi said one could walk to the Governor’s residence atop St Paul’s Hill through the tunnel.
Other historians, like John Cameron and Rev Father Rene Cardon, also wrote about it, with some claiming that the records of tunnels built by the Portuguese and Dutch in Melaka are kept in Europe.
Khamis said there was talk of a tunnel running from the Hang Li Poh Well to the Bank Simpanan Nasional building in Jalan Munshi Abdullah, but this was found to be untrue.
“We researched and found there was no such tunnel. It was rumoured to be filled with gold,” he said.
But such rumours have taken on a life of their own over time and there are some people in the state looking for treasure from the Melaka Sultanate.
According to Khamis, these treasure hunters focus on three locations where they believe that Melaka palace officials buried gold bars to hide them from the Portugese.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/10/secret-tunnel-found-in-historical-site-more-explorations-planned-after-passageway-in-melaka-discover/#0QWih2YJoE2t0QqE.99

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