Excavations at Bujang Valley

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

Two years ago, Malaysian archaeologists working in the coastal plains of south Kedah struck an amazing find when they uncovered man-made structures that turned out to be the oldest in South-east Asia.

The team of 30 from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and various government departments found iron ore smelters complete with furnaces and iron slag that dated back 1,900 years to AD110.

They also dug up a brick structure believed to have been used for ritual purposes and a roofed brick platform jetty near Sungai Batu – both dating from the early part of the second century AD.

USM archaeologist, Associate Professor Mokhtar Saidin, realised then that they had found remnants of the old civilisation referred to in many historical texts.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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