via Universiti Sains Malaysia, 03 February 2019: A short video of Prof Mokhtar Saidin from the Centre for Global Archaeological Research showing the Chief Minister of Penang the finds from Fort Cornwallis.
via Malay Mail, 22 January 2019: The Sarawak Government expresses renewed interest to nominate the Niah Caves as a World Heritage Site due to recent findings of Pleistocene occupation of the cave dating 65,000 years.
The Sarawak government will re-submit nomination for the Niah Caves National Park in Miri Division to be a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Site, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said an archaeological works carried out by researchers from University of New South Wales, Australia, showed evidence of human settlements at the caves dated back to about 65,000 years ago.
“On record, human settlements in other parts of the world is about 40,000 years ago, but the Niah caves have evidence to show that the settlement was much more earlier,” he said at the opening of the stakeholders consultation on the proposed forestry policies here.
Readers in Malacca may be interested in this double lecture organised by ICOMOS Malaysia on 23 Feb 2019 focusing on the archaeologies of Singapore and Malaysia.
ARTIFACTS BENEATH YOUR STREETS
Date: 23 February 2019
Venue: Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre, No. 54-56 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Banda Hilir, Melaka
Organised by ICOMOS Malaysia & ICOMOS Singapore
Supported by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia & NUS Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre
Port Settlements & Urbanisation: Historical Archaeology in the Malay Archipelago by Lim Chen Sian
In popular imagination, archaeology is typified by dust-covered individuals excavating for wondrous artifacts from lost civilizations hidden in the jungle or desert. While certainly not factually incorrect, it is a somewhat romantic portrayal of the work and people. Increasingly, archaeologists can be encountered quietly excavating in the city center or a suburban neighborhood nearby. Archaeology is the study of past societies, and the archaeology of urbanization and modern settlements are some of the many themes of research.
Archaeological investigations of port settlements such as Melaka and Singapore are still underexplored and much can be told from the material cultural remains that lay unobtrusively around us. Melaka and Singapore are prominent examples of the long history and evolution of harbors and cities in island Southeast Asia over the past millennium. What does the archaeology of downtown Singapore and Melaka and other port settlements in the Malay Archipelago reveal? What connects these seemingly disparate polities?
This talk looks at how archaeologists study and interpret the distant and more recent past of port settlements, and how the specialized sub-field of historical archaeology is making inroads unveiling new dimensions to our understanding.
Ruination in the City: Challenges in Malaysian Urban Archaeology by Shaiful Shahidan
Urban development in Malaysia frequently ignores or relinquishes the need for saving and safeguarding the history of a place. A constant “collision” between conservation values and the need for development, present a continuous challenge in the field of urban archaeology and heritage conservation in Malaysia, as reflected by few cases in the recent past. What are the factors that cause this collision? What is the best approach to balance the development needs and sustainability of heritage within the city? Nonetheless, in recent years, there has been a considerable change in the urban areas, especially among the stakeholders and the public, with increasing mindfulness regarding the preservation and conservation of heritage.
This presentation will feature a problem encountered in archaeological works in urban areas as well as its future sustainability. It will also discuss on few approaches of bringing the local community together to conserve and preserve their heritage, in both urban and semi-urban setting.
Profile of Speakers
Lim Chen Sian is the Vice President of ICOMOS Singapore, and an Associate Fellow at the Archaeology Unit, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. He is a historical archaeologist interested in the transitional period between pre-and-post European contact in Southeast Asia and the development of port settlements, military fortifications, and the material culture of trade. He has excavated in Central America, Burma, Egypt, Java, Kampuchea, Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra. He has been involved in Singapore archaeology since 2002. As of 2006 he led all the major archaeological investigations in the country, and works extensively on lobbying for legislative changes pertaining to the necessity for impact assessments, protection of archaeological sites, and artifact ownership.
Shaiful Shahidan is a Council Member of ICOMOS Malaysia, as well as an ASTS Fellow at the Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was a recipient of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship under European Commission and has spent several years of training in field archaeology in Europe and Southeast Asia. He was also one of the expert panels for the Lenggong Valley dossier preparation, before its inscription into the UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the past 15 years, he has been involved in archaeological research in Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, covering extensive research and analysis. His current work focuses on field archaeological project in key sites within the Georgetown World Heritage Sites.
via The Star, 27 January 2019: Another cannon has been unearthed in Fort Cornwallis in Georgetown, Penang. Two were previously discovered last year.
An excavation at Fort Cornwallis has unearthed another cannon and a mortar.
The two large guns were discovered during archaeological excavation work overseen by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Jabatan Warisan Negara.
Penang chief archaeologist Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin said the two guns were in addition to the twin cannons buried 1.2m below ground next to Fort Cornwallis discovered in February last year.
via The Star, 04 January 2019: The Malaysia federal government has approved a RM$10 million budget for more work at the Sungai Batu site in Kedah.
The race is on to uncover more secrets from the ruins of the oldest known civilisation in South-East Asia – the Sungai Batu archaeological site in Kedah.
The federal government has approved RM10mil to conduct consultation, conservation and restoration works as well as an archaeological museum.
“The funds were approved under the recent federal budget. It is only for the first phase. The total needed is RM30mil,” said Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
However, Muhammad Bakhtiar said the ministry needed the Kedah government’s assistance to gazette a special area plan for Sungai Batu to ensure that it would be protected.
via Malay Mail and other sources, 18 December 2018: Archaeologists in Malaysia announce the discovery of a Mesolithic-period skeleton in Kelantan.
The skeleton from the Mesolithic period or middle stone age, was found by researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), archaeologists from National Heritage Department (JWN) and researchers from the History Department, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris during the archaeological excavation at the cave.
via The Star, 22 November 2018:
The little known Mansuli Valley, one of the oldest valleys in Borneo, may soon be on the map of Indiana Jones wannabes.
It is likely to beckon visitors who are keen on archaeotourism or interested in archaeology and historical sites.
Located about 30km from Sabah’s Lahad Datu district, there is evidence that the area was inhabited about 235,000 years ago.
via The Star, 11 October 2018: From Malaysia’s National Archaeology Seminar held last month, a minister from the Federal government says that many archaeological sites cannot be gazetted in the National Heritage Register because the state governments have not registered them for protection.
When the federal government wants to gazette national heritage sites, the biggest hurdle is getting state governments to agree, says Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
Malaysia has 965 archaeological sites, of which 822 are on land and 143 underwater. But only nine have ever been gazetted as national heritage sites.
“I’m not sure what the motive is, but before we can gazette a place as national heritage and protect it, we need the states to give consent and some states are a bit slow to agree,” he said.
via Free Malaysia Today, 1 November 2018: A story about a World War I naval battle in Penang… and I believe the shipwreck is still there to this day.
The Battle of Penang was a brief but deadly action now largely forgotten locally but still marked by the Russians every year.
The battle was mentioned numerous times by Vladimir Putin on his 2003 presidential visit to Malaysia, and on Saturday members of the Russian diplomatic mission to Malaysia remembered the loss of 88 Russian sailors aboard the cruiser Zhemchug (Pearl) during the battle.
Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, allied ships from Britain, France and Russia were in and around Penang harbour. One of these was the Russian cruiser Zhemchug, in Penang for repairs to her boilers.
This Borneo archaeological dig cave could shed light on the Mt Toba super-volcano eruption and humans’ arrival in the region
via ABC, 27 October 2018: A beautiful multimedia essay about recent excavations in the Niah Caves complex.
The caves are also one of the most important fossil sites in the region.
Over the past 60 years, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of hundreds of skeletons in a Neolithic cemetery up to 4,000 years old, and an Iron Age cemetery up to 2,000 years old.
It is also where an iconic fossil known as Deep Skull was unearthed in 1958 by British palaeontologists Tom and Barbara Harrisson.