Ancient firearms found near Front Palace
Eight hand cannons (an early form of firearm) along with a large amount of ammunition were recently unearthed during renovations at Bangkok's Front Palace located in the National Museum compound near Sanam Luang, Fine Arts Department chief Anek Sihamat said yesterday.
Archaeologists found that the site used to be an army barrack during King Pinklao's reign (1808-1866) and the department has registered the items for conservation and display at the National Museum in Phra Nakhon district.
Anek said the discovery was made on Tuesday, when the Office of Archaeology officials were excavating a field near the National Museum's Putthai Sawan Hall as per the Front Palace conservation and development project.
He said the firearms and ammunition were found outside the building's perimeter. The hand cannons, each about 75 to 100 centimetres long with a barrel 10-15cm in diameter possibly fired metal balls. Such handguns were widely used in Europe and Asia between the 14th and the 15th century, and Thailand bought these guns from the West during the Ayutthaya to Rattanakosin eras.
Anek said these hand cannons were possibly decommissioned or broken and were hence piled outdoors when the Army barrack was demolished during the reign of King Rama V.