via Travel Wire News, 09 October 2018: Malaysia is looking to work with the Aga Khan Trust to create a tourism plan for the archaeological sites in Kedah, which include the Bujang Valley, Sungai Batu and Guah Kepar sites.
Putrajaya is planning to sign an agreement with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, through Think City Sdn Bhd, to develop Kedah Tua as an archaeotourism site, said Tourism, Culture and Arts Deputy Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
He said Kedah Tua is a network of old civilisation linking Lembah Bujang to Sungai Batu to Sik in Kedah and Guar Kepah in Seberang Perai here that can be promoted as one large site.
“We plan to sign a memorandum of understanding with Aga Khan Trust to develop the Kedah Tua project,” he told reporters after the opening of a National Archaeological Seminar here.
Source: Putrajaya mulls partnership with Aga Khan Trust to develop Kedah Tua for tourism | World News | Travel Wire News
via Free Malaysia Today, 09 October 2018: A new museum is planned for the Bujang Valley complex.
via Free Malaysia Today 20181009
The government is looking to pique world interest in the Bujang Valley and Sungai Batu, collectively known as “Kedah Tua”, by building a new museum showcasing findings there over the years.
Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said plans were being made for an “archaeotourism” site at Kedah Tua which extends from Lembah Bujang to Sungai Batu up to Penang’s mainland border of Guar Kepah, near Penaga, for international visitors.
Source: New museum planned to showcase finds in Bujang Valley, Sungai Batu | Free Malaysia Today
via Kosmo, 17 August 2018: The Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture announced a RM30 million (approximately US$7.3 million) allocation to improve tourist infrastructure at the Sungai Batu archaeological site in Kedah. Article is in Bahasa Malaysia.
SUNGAI PETANI – Kementerian Pelancongan, Seni dan Budaya akan membangunkan kemudahan infrastruktur yang lengkap bernilai RM30 juta di Kompleks Arkeologi Sungai Batu, Lembah Bjuang di sini yang merupakan tapak tamadun tertua di rantau ini berusia 2,200 tahun.
Source: Pembangunan infrastruktur Kompleks Arkeologi Sungai Batu bernilai RM30 juta
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
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
Old Kedah, or Kedah Tua in Malay, and the archaeological findings of the Bujang Valley in northern Peninsular Malaysia were the focus of a local festival held last month. The events included an international conference, and from the news reports two themes seem apparent: the disagreement on whether the ruins of the Bujang Valley represent an animist or Hindu-Buddhist tradition, and the news that the remains of the Hindu temples that have previously been uncovered in the valley will not be nominated and protected under Unesco World Heritage. There’s a lot of subtext to read between the news reports, but it seems there is an attempt to downplay the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism in the Bujang Valley sites.
Source: Bernama, via Malay Mail 20160521
Experts disagree on religion practised at ruins older than Borobodur and Angkor Wat
The Star, 21 May 2016
World archaeological experts fascinated by Sungai Batu ancient site
Malay Mail, 21 May 2016
Ministry seeks allocation to develop Sungai Batu into historical tourism site
Malay Mail, 21 May 2016
No to heritage listing on Hindu-Buddhist temple ruins
The Star, 21 May 2016
Religious pluralism a likelihood in Bujang Valley
Free Malaysia Today, 23 May 2016
Ancient seaport of Sg Batu
New Straits Times, 23 May 2016
Sg Batu declared SEA’s oldest civilisation
Free Malaysia Today, 23 May 2016
Bujang Valley: Need for proof to be a heritage site?
The Star, 26 May 2016
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
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.
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
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.
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
The state and federal governments in Malaysia have agreed to jointly developed the Sungei Batu Archaeological Site in Bujang Valley, Kedah into a heritage site.
Government To Collaborate With Kedah To Develop Sungai Batu Archeological Site
Bernama, 20 May 2010