Centuries-old Laterite structure emerges along Fort Kochi beach

The foundation could be possibly be part of the 1503 Portugese-built Fort Emmanuel

A laterite underwater foundation, possibly part of the 1503 Portugese-built Fort Emmanuel, has emerged along the Fort Kochi beach reviving enthusiasm among history buffs on the city’s ancient structural remains.

“Nearly eight rows of the foundation consisting of laterite stones became visible two days ago. The underwater structure emerged after the seawater receded following a low tide,” said Taha Ibrahim, a history enthusiast, who was part of a team that retrieved 11 pieces of granite and one of laterite of historical value from the seafront in February. “The foundation may be the remains of a signal tower located near Fort Emmanuel,” he said.

K. Harikumar, documentation assistant with the State Archaeology Department and in-charge of the museum at Bastion Bungalow, said further studies were required to ascertain whether the laterite foundation was part of the signal tower. “But it could be possibly connected to Fort Emmanuel,” he said.

Fort Emmanuel was the first fort made by a European power in Asia. It was overrun by the Dutch a hundred years later. The British later used these buildings for housing and military purposes.

E. Dinesan, Director of the Archaeology Department, recalled that similar laterite structures were spotted in Fort Kochi two years ago. “However, we could not carry out further investigations, as the remains were underwater and the strong waves had hampered the research,” he said.

Suggesting that the region demanded research based on Marine Archaeology, Mr. Dinesan said that the period to which these structures belonged could be confirmed only after further research. “We have plans to take up a detailed study on the remains emerging along the Fort Kochi beach,” he said.

The pieces of granite and laterite slabs and stones recovered from the site in February were shifted to the garden of the Bastion Bungalow Museum. History enthusiasts had joined hands to retrieve the remains after a few historically important buildings were razed to the ground for the Water Metro work.

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