Conservation and landscaping of Dutch Fort of Katuwana
|Conservation and landscaping of Dutch Fort of Katuwana|
|Project duration||2000 till 2008|
|Type of Project||Care & Management|
|Landscape, Fortification, Built Heritage, Sri Lanka, Conservation|
The Dutch Fort in Katuwana in Hambantota District is situated about 40 km North of Matara and Tangalle and it has been identified as the only remaining fort constructed by the Dutch rulers in the late 17th century inside the country. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) built Katuwana Fort in 1645. In 2000 the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology (PGIAR) of the University of Kelaniya in cooperation with the Amsterdam Archaeology Centre (AAC) of the University of Amsterdam conducted a research on excavation of the Katuwana Fort. The fort is an example of an outpost where Dutch settlers interacted with the natives of Sri Lanka. Europeans, Sri Lankan soldiers and Eurasian soldiers inhabited it. Study and research of the material of the fort is a priority to become more information of the relationships between the newcomers of 17th and 18th century colonial Ceylon and the natives. It has been planned to conserve the monument and to develop the site as a tourist attraction by excavating and conservating the site with the entrance, developing the access road and relocation of government buildings which are blocking the view of the monument, landscaping and providing basic facilities such as information centre, toilets and parking space for the tourists.
Excavation works started in 2006. According to the findings of the entrance, the excavation was extended to the inner yard of the Fort to find the original ground level. After the excavation, it was found that there was a later addition for the protection of the Fort after the Dutch abandoned it. Therefore, it has been decided to expose all the findings and to pave the internal yard with interlocking tiles to protect the original stone layer. Mr. Harry Boerema advised to add a layer of 3 or 4 inches of sand to the surface of the internal yard and to put a stone or brick pavement on top of that. It was suggested that this part could be used for cultural events. The drawings of the gateway were found at the National Archives of the Netherlands used for construction.
To ascertain the original layout plan through archaeology investigation and conserve and preserve the ancient character of the Fort and to present the site in a proper manner to the visitors thus making the entire site attractive.
All major items such as relocation and demolition of the recently constructed government officer quarters, conservation and restoration of the ancient gate archway of the Fort, construction of an entrance pathway to the upper terrace, construction of entrance pavilions and public convenience facility units for visitors etc. are completed. The site is now properly presented to the visitors and the view of the Ancient Fort has been highlighted to the landscaping system introduced to the built-environment. The Department of Archaeology will arrange to maintain and operate the site under its custody.
Integrated Plan for Conservation, Preservation and Development of Cultural Heritage Sites and Tourism promotion in the Southern Region within the concept of ‘A Cultural Triangle in the South’ under the Netherlands-Sri Lanka Cultural Cooperation Programme 2006/2009. Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, 2006, Sri Lanka.
Department of Archaeology Sri Lanka
Southern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka
Community Associations from the Area
Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
Amsterdam Archaeology Centre University of Amsterdam
Centre for International Heritage Activities
UNESCO – Asia Pacific Region
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
World Heritage Centre
|Experts referring to this project|
|Prasanna B. Ratnayake|
Integrated Plan for Conservation, Preservation and Development of Cultural Heritage in the Southern Region within a concept ‘A Cultural Triangle in the South’ under the Netherlands-Sri Lanka Cultural Cooperation Programme 2006/2009