Artisan’s Garden: Digging Into Fort Canning’s Past

Students from a local university carrying out maintenance activities at Artisan's Garden.

Artisan’s Garden at Fort Canning Park provides a unique opportunity to take a look into the past. This archaeological dig site on the Eastern slopes of Fort Canning Park is a place where you can peer back into Singapore’s ancient past.

Recently revamped along with other gardens at Fort Canning Park, the Artisan’s Garden is so-named because of the site’s historical past. Evidence has been uncovered that it was once the location of craftsmen workshops. It is believed to have been the location where skilled artisans would have once had a base, churning out precious objects for patrons.

Exploring Fort Canning Hill’s Past

Nowadays, the site welcomes visitors of a different sort – those who are curious about Fort Canning Hill’s past.

Interpretive Panels at Fort Canning Park's Artisan's GardenThe Artisan’s Garden was the location of an archaeological investigation back in the 1980s. This yielded the remnants of buildings and other artefacts from Fort Canning Hill’s past. The excavation site is still open and, from a walkway, visitors can view the finds.

Gallery at Artisan's GardenAn interpretative gallery at the rear of the dig site provides commentary into the objects – pottery, jewellery and even coins – that were found on Fort Canning Hill and their significance to the history of Singapore.

Display at Artisan's GardenSome of these objects are displayed beneath a glass panel set into the floor, helping visitors to visualise what they must have been like to uncover them.

There are also multimedia touch panels to explore the history of the site and explain what is on display.

Pottery-making displayOther high-touch exhibits include a pottery wheel – a way to relate the shards of pottery to actual objects which were once common place in everyday life.

Activities at Artisan’s Garden

Tools on displayWhile it is not possible to enter into the archaeological dig pit at Artisan’s Garden, there is another high-touch display of the tools which archaeologists use for their work. These include a trowel, brush and sieve.

Outdoor play pit areaThere is also an outdoor “play pit” under the floor boards at Artisan’s Garden. While not open all the time, it will be opened up for children to have a go at being an archaeologist during special programmes.

Artisan's Garden, Fort Canning HillThe Artisan’s Garden can be found behind the Registry of Marriages at Fort Canning Park.

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