Artefacts from Bukit Brown graves go on display

SINGAPORE - Common objects dug out include miniature clay and porcelain vessels, replicas of cookware for use in the afterlife and accessories, such as jade and silver bangles, hairpins, as well as brooches used by Peranakan women to fasten their sarong kebaya.

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In December 2013, exhumation began at last at the Bukit Brown Cemetery, where more than 3,000 of nearly 100,000 graves will make way for a new road.

The remains that are still unclaimed three years after exhumation will be cremated individually and scattered at sea.

Construction of the new road will begin in stages after the exhumation of affected graves is completed, an LTA spokesman said.

The exhumation process is being documented by anthropologist Hui Yew-Foong and his team, who have been appointed by the Government for the task.

Dr Hui, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said the team observes what rituals might have been carried out, what artefacts were buried with the dead, and if the tombs have any underground structure.

For instance, underground chambers were sometimes lined with bricks to keep coffins dry, while women might have jewellery or miniature cooking utensils buried with them.