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Dutch Forts Of Seventeenth Century Ceylon And Mauritius: An Historical Archaeological Perspective

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents the archaeological research on Fort Frederik Hendrik and Katuwana Fort as case studies in colonial archaeology, illuminating the wider system of seventeenth-century Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) enterprises. These fortifications were always considered of minor importance, but even in their small scale they are good examples of the separate and almost self-sufficient elements within the entire network. The importance of minor VOC strongholds as relevant subjects of historical-archaeological research has been demonstrated at the location of the VOC outpost Oudepost I in the Saldanha Bay in South Africa. Initially the VOC used local clay and earth for the construction of the forts, in accordance with the earthen ramparts in The Netherlands. These circumstances were not everywhere met; for instance in South Africa, Mauritius, and also in Ceylon the early VOC officials were constantly complaining about the vulnerable conditions of their forts after tropical rains had destroyed the ramparts.

Keywords: Ceylon; Fort Frederik Hendrik; historical-archaeological research; Katuwana Fort; Mauritius; Netherlands; Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC)



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