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Digging of SoBo road triggers discovery of British-era cannon

While concretisation of Sir PM Road was in progress yesterday evening, the JCB struck the object at a depth of about five feet

Civic agencies excavate the city’s streets all the time, but they usually don’t expect to find artillery. However, while doing the customary spadework yesterday at Sir PM Road, adjacent to Flora Fountain, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) workers hit part of a cannon, possibly from the British era.

The cannon dug up near Flora Fountain. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The cannon dug up near Flora Fountain. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The corporation is in the process of concretising the road, and half of the work has been completed. Digging was in progress around 6 pm, when the JCB struck the antique at a depth of about five feet.

BMC site engineer Sandeep Bhosale immediately called MRA Marg police. Cops arrived at the spot and the object was taken to the police station. “We will do a panchnama, and then it will be handed over to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Mumbai,” said Ratna Khandelwal, duty officer at MRA Marg police station.

“It’s around 7-foot long. It does not have any dates engraved on it, but looks about 200 years old,” said Ashok Jagdale, senior inspector of the police station. A sub-engineer of BMC, present at the site, said, “After we unearthed this cannon fragment, we started excavating the area very cautiously, expecting more pieces. But nothing else was found.”

An expert, however, said that the object is likely to be from the British era. “This cannon must be from the period 1700-1900 BCE, when the British were in Mumbai. Around 1875, they had started construction of roads. Some cannons got buried during the development,” said Deepak Rao, a historian.

The demolition work of Fort George (now the Fort area) began in 1862. “About 20 years ago, several cannons were unearthed near Metro theatre, which were kept at Azad Maidan and Cross Maidan. The whole region was Fort then, so there were many cannons here,” Rao added.

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