Malacca state seeks follow-up on ancient bones

After a period of silence, the state of Malacca is trying to find out what’s the story behind the bones that were unearthed last year.

No word yet on skeletons found near Malacca River
The Star, 28 May 2008

The state authorities want to know what has happened to the four ancient human skeletons sent to Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) for analysis following their discovery next to the Malacca River a year ago.

State Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Seet Har Cheow said the bones and glass beads were among items discovered during archaeological excavations by the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry in May last year.

“The matter was previously raised in the State Legislative Assembly and it was said that the bones had been sent to USM for analysis. However, we have yet to get any feedback,” he said at the archaeological site in Jalan Kota here yesterday.

I’ve actually seen the bones myself, when I was last at the Centre for Archaeological Research in October (where I’m doing my postgrad), and the bones were being painstakingly cleaned before being sent for analytical procedures. I don’t know what’s going on with the bones now, but most people don’t realise that fieldwork represents a tiny fraction of time spent on an archaeological research project. Plenty of it is spent in the lab, with the common saying – one week in the field is seven weeks in the lab!

Related Books:
Old Malacca (Images of Asia)
Malacca Sketchbook

Related Posts

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.