Malaysia’s Bujang Valley larger than originally thought

The extent of human settlement at Bujang Valley in Malaysia’s northern state of Kedah is larger than originally thought, with the discovery of a set of new iron smelting sites enlarging the settlement area from 400 square km to 1,000 square km. Bujang Valley was populated between the 3rd-11th century and probably played an important role in the maritime trade between India and Southeast Asia. Current research at Bujang Valley is being presented at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, which ends tomorrow. The research at Bujang Valley has been receiving a lot of attention in the last two years have been great, with the government lending its support behind it – this should mean in the next few years we should be reading more news about the site as more papers get published.

Bujang Valley larger than thought [Link no longer available]
The Star, 02 July 2010

Malaysia’s Hindu-Buddhist civilisation spread over 1,000 sq km [Link no longer available]
Kuala Lumpur News, 04 July 2010

Bujang valley continues to amaze historians [Link no longer available]
The Sun, 05 July 2010

Southeast Asian History Needs A Rewrite?
Bernama, 05 July 2010

Cabinet keen on further research on Bujang Valley [Link no longer available]
The Sun, 06 July 2010

Ministry To Focus On Bujang Valley Research Under 10MP
Bernama, 06 July 2010

The Bujang Valley civilisation in Merbok, Kedah, might have been twice as big as what it was originally thought to be, according to new findings by a team of researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

Team leader Assoc Prof Dr Mokhtar Saidin said that following the discovery of ancient furnaces for iron smelting two weeks ago in Jeniang, the size was now estimated to be 35km in radius compared to 15km in radius before.

“This means the Bujang Valley civilisation area encompassed about 1,000sq km – three times the size of Penang island – and not 400 sq km as thought before,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

He said the southern area of the civilisation still stretched from Merbok to Bukit Mertajam but the eastern side which previously ended at the North-South Highway now stretches till Jeniang.

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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.

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