Minister slams government for lack of Bujang Valley protection

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A state minister in Malaysia has criticised the federal government of Malaysia for not protecting the Bujang Valley in Kedah as a heritage site.

Bujang Valley Museum

Ramasamy furious Bujang Valley not yet a heritage site
FMT News, 22 April 2016

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has slammed the federal government for not preserving the historical Bujang Valley in Kedah by gazetting it as a heritage site.

The DAP leader was responding to a recent report in The Sun that a group of local university students were found playing “station games” atop a candi (ancient tomb or temple built during the Hindu and Buddhist periods) at the Archaeological Museum there.

“Despite the monuments there dating back more than 2000 years, the site has not received the kind of attention that is due from the Malaysian government.

“While the Bujang Valley has not been gazetted as a heritage site despite many requests, the ancient monuments and sites face the danger of being abused or even demolished by unscrupulous land developers,” he said in a statement today, citing the demolition of a reconstructed candi by a developer to make way for a housing project in the valley, several years ago.

Full story here.

Sungei Batu proposed to be a cultural gallery

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Sungei Batu site in Kedah, Malaysia. Source: The Star 20151202

A Malaysian archaeologist has proposed that the Sungei Batu site in Kedah, Malaysia should be made into a cultural gallery. Archaeological evidence from Sungei Batu is thought to be the site of an important iron-smelting port since 2,500 years ago.

Sungei Batu site in Kedah, Malaysia. Source: The Star 20151202

Sungei Batu site in Kedah, Malaysia. Source: The Star 20151202

Reliving ancient times
The Star, 02 December 2015

The Sungai Batu archaeology site, believed to be the oldest settlement in South-East Asia, should be turned into a living cultural gallery.

Director of USM’s Centre for Global Archaeological Research Prof Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin said the site, some 20km from here, could be modelled after the Iron Museum in Seoul, South Korea.

He said the discovery of an ancient iron smelting foundry was proof there was internatio-nal demand, adding that around the jetty ruins were mounds of rubble containing iron slag and ingots.

“A living cultural gallery at the site will ‘revive’ the ancient civilisation in Merbok dating back 535 BC and it will certainly help to boost tourism here.

Full story here.

Remains of watercraft reported from Kedah archaeological site

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Sungei Batu Archaeological Site

Archaeologists in Malaysia working at the Sungei Batu archaeological site have reportedly discovered the remains of several shipwrecks, but funds are lacking to investigate further. The finds are consistent with previous work at the site which has uncovered the presence of jetties and the former river in the area.

Sungei Batu Archaeological Site

Sungei Batu Archaeological Site

Ancient Ships Discovered At Sungai Batu Archaeological Site
Bernama, 31 August 2015

Ancient shipwrecks find may force a rewrite of SEA history
The Star, 02 September 2015

Using ground penetrating radar, archaelogists have discovered outlines of more than five ships between 5m and 10m underground at the Sungai Batu Archaelogical Site, near Semeling, about 20km from here.

“This was once an ancient river with a width of about 100m and a depth of 30m. Now it is a swampy wetland,” said archaelogical team member Azman Abdullah.

Signs of the first shipwreck was unearthed in 2011 not far from the ruins of a jetty made of flattish square bricks.

“We dug until we found a 2m-long mast head lying horizontally. The wood had softened but it was still miraculously well preserved.

“We were excited and dug through the wet mud every day,” said Azman, 54. To the team’s horror, the excavation pit collapsed in 2012 after they reached a depth of 5m.

Fulls stories here and here.

Seminar: Revisiting the Bujang Valley

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Readers may be interested in this seminar on the Bujang Valley at the National University of Singapore.

Bujang Valley Museum

Revisiting the Bujang Valley: An Entrepôt Complex at the Heart of the Maritime Silk Route
Dr Stephen Murphy
Date: 29 October 2014
Time: 3 pm
Venue: National University of Singapre. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Block AS1, #03-04, 11 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
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Sungei Batu site to get exhibition centre

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The Sungei Batu site in Kedah, Malaysia will have an exhibition centre built to showcase the finds there. Two interesting things from the story – the Sungei Batu civilisation is now being called the Langkasuka culture and the minister is quoted as saying that Bujang Valley civilisation is older than Perak Man which I’m sure is incorrect, since the Perak Man is dated to around 10,000 years old.

Site of Ancient Civilisation at Sungei Batu to Have Exhibition Centre
Bernama, 05 December 2011
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Researcher argues for Kedah as site of oldest Malaysian kingdom

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An independent researcher is arguing for Malaysian history books to be changed to reflect the earliest civilisation in Malaysia originated in Kedah’s Bujang Valley, rather than the 15th century Malacca Sultanate. The monumental architecture in Bujang Valley, in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, has been known for several decades now and current research by a team from Universiti Sains Malaysia have brought about new findings about the site. Of course, there are some political undertones to this argument as the primacy of the Malacca Sultanate has a function in the historical narrative of the state.

Cities of Gold
photo credit: plassen

Kedah, not Malacca, the oldest kingdom [Link no longer active]
Free Malaysia Today, 10 September 2011
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Excavations at Bujang Valley

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Archaeologists and students at Universiti Sains Malaysia, where I was at until last year, have been for the past couple of years busy with new excavations and finds at the Bujang Valley, in the northern state of Kedah. This story from the Straits Times features some of the main finds from the ongoing work.

Digging up South-east Asia’s oldest ruins
The Straits Times, 07 January 2011
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