[New Paper] Revisiting the Bujang Valley: A Southeast Asian entrepôt complex on the maritime trade route

New paper on the Bujang Valley by Stephen Murphy:

In the early 1830s and 1840s, a British colonial official by the name of Colonel James Low uncovered evidence for an early culture with Indic traits in a river system known as the Bujang Valley. On the west coast of the Thai-Malay peninsula, the Bujang Valley is today located in the Malaysian state of Kedah. However, it wasn’t until just before World War II that excavations took place, conducted by H. G. Quaritch Wales and his wife Dorothy. Their discoveries and subsequent publications led to the first real attempts to explain the origins and extent of this civilisation and its place within the larger South and Southeast Asian world. In the intervening years between Quaritch Wales’s excavations and the present day, considerably more research has taken place within the Bujang Valley, though this has not been without controversy. Recently claims and counter-claims regarding the antiquity of Hinduism and Buddhism at the site have arisen in some quarters within Malaysia. It therefore seems pertinent that this material be re-evaluated in light of new scholarship and discoveries as well as the prevailing paradigms of interactions between South and Southeast Asia. This paper presents an updated reading of this material and argues that the Bujang Valley should be seen as a cosmopolitan trading port with substantive evidence for the presence of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Source: Revisiting the Bujang Valley: A Southeast Asian entrepôt complex on the maritime trade route | Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society | Cambridge Core
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1356186317000505

Follow Darren Curnoe on his Niah Caves excavation

Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales is on his three-week excavation of the Niah Caves in Sarawak and he will be tweeting and broadcasting his experiences on Facebook Live. You can follow his progress here:

Darren Curnoe – Anthropologist. 80 likes. Biological anthropologist and archaeologist with an insatiable curiosity about the kind of creature we are and how we came to be this way.

Source: Darren Curnoe – Anthropologist

Old-new history of ancient Kedah

via New Straits Times, 11 November 2017: Archaeoturism at the Sungei Batu site.

If you’re now thinking that this is a recently discovered lost civilisation in the dense tropical jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula or South America, built by either the fearsome Mayans or Aztecs, well think again. This latest ground-breaking discovery predating many well-known ancient civilisations is found right here in our very own backyard. To be exact, it’s located in Malaysia’s northern state of Kedah.

Armed with these tantalising facts related to me recently by a friend, I make my way to the main entrance of the Sungai Batu archaeological site. I’m excited and ready to see for myself the many amazing discoveries that are set to rewrite history textbooks in the near future.

Acting on my friend’s advice, I quickly sign up for a guided tour that costs only RM10 for locals. The tour, conducted by graduate students of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), allows visitors access into many key areas within the excavation complex which currently houses nearly 100 excavated sites. Be forewarned that most of these important sites are off-limits to those who opt for free access to the area.

Source: Old-new history of ancient Kedah | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News

Gua Pelangi, Negeri Sembilan’ prehistoric cave site

via Sinar Harian, 26 October 2017: (article is in Bahasa Malaysia)

SEBUT sahaja Gua Niah, Sarawak, dan Gua Bewah, Terengganu sudah pasti ramai yang sudah mengenali khazanah negara itu berbanding Gua Pelangi yang terletak di Negeri Sembilan.

Source: Gua Pelangi semarak sejarah Negeri Sembilan – Rencana – Sinar Harian

George Town may lose UNESCO World Heritage Site status

via Astro Awani, 06 October 2017:

George Town, one of the most prominent trading ports linking the East and West for the last 200 years, is at risk of losing the UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Source: George Town may lose UNESCO World Heritage Site status | Astro Awani

Sarawak Museum to close for two and a half years for conservation works

via Borneo Post, 21 September 2017

KUCHING: The Sarawak Museum will be temporarily closed from Oct 23 onwards for a period of two and a half years. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the temporary closure was …

Source: Sarawak Museum to close for two and a half years for conservation works – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo

Kuala Lumpur’s heritage buildings under threat

via Straits Times, 08 August 2017:

SE Asia News -Misguided spending, poor maintenance and bad planning have left these icons in disrepair.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

Source: Kuala Lumpur’s heritage buildings under threat, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

When the Malay cannons boomed

via New Straits Times, 23 July 2017: A feature on the cannons of Kota Kuala Kedah in northern Malaysia.

Cannons were already in common use in Europe by the mid 14th century. During that same time the Arabs began using cannons as effective siege machines during their assaults on Spain. By the time Lopez D’Sequeira visited Melaka in 1509, the Malay sultanate was said to have around 8,000 pieces of this type of artillery in its possession.

After conquering Melaka in 1511, Alfonso D’Albuquerque reported that one third of the Malay cannons were made of iron while the rest were cast from brass. He was reported to have said that the workmanship of the cannons he confiscated couldn’t be excelled even back home in Portugal.

Among those captured by the Portuguese were large cannons or meriam. However, their numbers paled in comparison with the more common long pieces called lela.

Source: When the Malay cannons boomed | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News

Archaeology books removed from Singapore library, errors on religions cited

Channel NewsAsia, 08 June 2016: A series of Malay-language books named “Agama, Tamadun Dan Arkeologi” (Religion, Civilisation And Archaeology) has been withdrawn from circulation in the Singapore library system among public complaints that the books insulted religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism, as well as carried factual inaccuracies about these religions. The publisher of the series is based in Malaysia.

All titles under the Agama, Tamadun Dan Arkeologi (Religion, Civilisation And Archeology) series have been withdrawn from its libraries with immediate effect pending review by the Library Consultative Panel, a spokesperson said.

Source: NLB withdraws Malay language books on religion, to review vetting process

USM launches archaeotourism packages to bridge public and archaeology

Archaeology fans can get their hands dirty and dig up ancient artefacts at actual excavation sites in Perak and Kedah or at a mock excavation site at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

USM recently launched its archaeotourism package, especially aimed at students and visitors interested in archaeology, for a hands-on tour of actual archaeological sites in Sungai Batu and Lenggong Valley. There is also an USM Archaeology Gallery within the USM compound in Penang that details all of the archaeological sites in Malaysia, with exhibits of artefacts dug up in those excavations.

Source: Like archaeology? Now you can dig at real excavation sites | Malaysia | Malay Mail Online