Perak Museum to be turned into archaeological museum to showcase Lenggong Valley

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A museum in Ipoh, the state capital of Perak, will be converted into an archaeological museum in anticipation of the inscription of Lenggong Valley as a World Heritage Site. Malaysia had previously proposed the Lenggong Valley, where a large amount of prehistoric sites have been found, for World Heritage listing last year. It is not known if and when a World Heritage listing will be granted.

There is already an archaeological museum at Lenggong, but it is a little out of the way (slightly over an hour from Ipoh). I am a little uneasy over the government official’s description of the museum as a “tourism product”, though.

Darul Ridzuan Museum to be upgraded into Perak Archaeological Museum
Bernama, 31 January 2012
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Lenggong Valley dossier sent to Unesco


Archaeologists in Malaysia have sent a dossier to Unesco proposing that the Lenggong Valley be inscribed as a World Heritage Site. The valley in the state of Perak is home to a number of prehistoric sites, including Gua Gunung Runtuh, where a 10,000-year-old skeleton was found, as well as Bukit Bunuh, where a hand axe has been dated to 1.83 million years.

USM Proposes Lenggong Valley, The Star 20110214

USM proposes a Valley of Heritage
The Star, 14 February 2011

Paleolithic Complex Site To Be Gazetted By Unesco
Bernama, 14 February 2011
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Malaysia gets ready to nominate Lenggong Valley as a World Heritage Site

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The Malaysian cabinet has given the go-ahead to nominate the Lenggong Valley in Perak as a World Heritage Site. Archaeological sites in the Lenggong Valley reveal a long period of habitation from the Pleistocene right up to the bronze age.

Cabinet Agrees To Make Lenggong Valley in Perak Heritage Site
Bernama, 25 August 2010
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Perak seeks WHS listing for Lenggong Valley


The Malaysian state of Perak has announced its intent to get the Lenggong Valley on the map as a World Heritage Site. Many archaeological discoveries have been discovered in this region, from prehistoric tools, skeletal burials and rock art, which hint that the valley may have been inhabited as far back as 1.8 million years.

Perak Wants Recognition For Lenggong Valley As Heritage Site
Bernama, 09 June 2010
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And now, a shameless plug…

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I’m pleased to announce that the preliminary findings from my research at Gua Tambun in Perak (Malaysia) has been published in this May’s issue of Rock Art Research. It’s a short paper co-authored with my supervisor, Dr. Stephen Chia, about the findings of rock art at the site, including many panels of paintings that have gone unreported until now (hence the title, ‘new’). You can read the abstract after the jump, and order a copy of the journal here.

‘New’ Rock Art from Gua Tambun, Perak, Malaysia
Tan, N. H. and Chia, S.
Rock Art Research, 2010, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 9-18.
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The oldest stone tools found in Southeast Asia potentially rewrites our understanding of human origins


A hand axe found in Perak, peninsular Malaysia has been dated to 1.83 million years, making it the oldest stone tool discovered in the part of the world. More significantly, this find also raises some serious questions about the out-of-Africa hypothesis of human origin. The oldest modern man in Southeast Asia is dated to around 50-60,000 years ago, and the oldest hominid fossil, Java Man (homo erectus) is placed between 1 and 1.7 million years ago. It’s been all over the news this weekend, and I’m sorry for not posting this up sooner especially seeing how I am at the said Centre for Archaeological Research in Universiti Sains Malaysia (I’ve been away to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year).

The soil in which the tools were discovered in were dated by fission-track dating, but they do have a wide margin of error of about 600,000 years. At this stage, the results haven’t been independently verified.

Lenggong had early humans 1.8m years ago
The Star, 29 January 2009

Rewriting ‘Out of Africa’ theory
New Straits Times, 30 January 2009

Early axes found in Perak
The Star, 30 January 2009

Malaysian scientists find stone tools ‘oldest in Southeast Asia’
AFP, 31 January 2009

Malaysia Says 1.8 Million-year-old Axes Unearthed
Sin Chew Jit Poh, 31 Jan 2009
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Two weeks documenting the rock art in Ipoh


Well, more closer to 12 days. My first two weeks of January was spent documenting the rock art of Gua Tambun, in a limestone mountain just outside the city of Ipoh, the capital of Perak in Peninsular Malaysia. This documentation and research project is the main focus of my MA thesis at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

The field crew: Nick, Suresh, Velat, Dr Stephen, me

The field crew: Nick, Suresh, Velat, Dr Stephen, me

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Clarification on the Star's Gua Tambun article


And so the last story featured for this year is… me. A couple of weeks ago I was invited by the Perak Heritage Society to a visit to some prehistoric cave sites in Perak, to raise awareness for some of the spectacular sites that are present in the state, and also to highlight the need for conservation for these sites. Among those present in the tour was a reporter from the Star, one of the largest local English dailies in Malaysia, who produced this story focusing on me and my research, despite my request NOT to be prominently featured. More distressingly, there were a number of errors, factual and inferred, attributed to me that I feel I should address here.

Art of our ancestors
The Star, 29 December 2008
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Categories: Malaysia


More reports on the Neolithic skeletons from Sarawak

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The coverage of the Neolithic skeletons unearthed in Sarawak continues… (Read my fuller account here).

Malaysian archaeologists find complete Neolithic skeletons
AFP, via The Nation (Pakistan), 19 September 2008

Neolithic skeletons found: report
SBS, 19 September 2008

Skeletons shed light on humans during Neolithic age

The Star, 19 September 2008
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