12 ancient cannons unearthed

The Naval Dockyard Department has recently unearthed 12 ancient cannons with the biggest one weighing about five tonnes and extending ten feet long.

Rear Admiral Samai Jai-in, chief of the engineering development of the Naval Dockyard Department, said Sunday that diggers took two weeks to retrieve all the ancient cannons, about 200 years old, from two-metre deep underground because they had to exercise caution in order not to damage any of them.

The biggest cannon was molded in England and sold to Siam during the early years of the Rattanakosin era. It bears the crown symbol of England and has inscriptions specifying the date it was molded.

Rear Admiral Samai said one of the 12 cannons was French-made during the era of Emperor Napoleon but was seized by English troops and, later on, sold to Siam.

The smaller cannons were molded by Thai artisans during the Thon Buri period at a foundry in Wat Rakang which is currently the foundry of the naval dockyard industrial works division.

He went on saying that the cannons were ship-based and land-based to protect capital Bangkok. Although buried in the ground for hundreds of years, they are still in good condition, he added.

A religious ritual will be held to bless all the cannons before they are put on display at the Royal Thai Navy’s museum.