Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kuakata boat antique: Expert

The boat that surfaced from beneath the sandy beach in Kuakata is of great antique value, said the head of the three-member investigation team, Research Assistant Md Golam Ferdous over phone from Kuakata Wednesday morning.

The three-member team was dispatched by the Department of Archaeology, Khulna office following reports in The Daily Star.

“We have examined the boat very closely and there is no doubt that it is an ancient boat, 200 or more years old,” said the researcher, “Our initial challenge lies in how to extract it out from the beach without inflicting any damage to the frame,” he added.

Ferdous however said his concern at the moment also lies in guarding the boat from thieves until the excavation work begins.

“Since that Tuesday we are here, we have not seen any initiative to guard it,” he said.

The ancient boat belonging to the first Rakhaine settlers from the Arakan Province of Myanmar over 200 years ago, was found on June 29 during low tide in the Bay of Bengal.

Sources in the Dhaka office of the department said that the Department of Archaeology does not possess any modern equipment, expertise or adequate fund to bring out the boat from underneath the sand and restore it to its original look.

“We may seek help from outside sources with permission from our ministry and restore it,” said an official of the department in Dhaka willing not to be quoted.

French born Bangladeshi, Yves Marre, who initiated a traditional boat museum under the banner “Protection and Preservation of National Naval Heritage of Bangladesh”, said he would be willing to assist the department of archaeology in extraction and restoration of the ancient boat.

“We have to solve the fund problem and also work jointly with the administration to do this job," Marre said.

“I can tell you, the prime minister of our country, Sheikh Hasina is very eager and serious in protection and preservation of our naval heritage and she will come forward to help us in this regard,” Marre added.

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