via New Sarawak Tribune, 27 December 2019: The third and final installment on a series about Sarawak’s cultural heritage (see here and here), this time focusing on climate change and in particular its effects on the Niah Caves.
Associate Professor Dr Darren Curnoe of University of New South Wales, who has been conducting archaeological research at the Niah Caves in Miri, said that heritage sites here in Borneo such as caves do experience a very real impact from extreme storms and extended drought seasons.
“Worse storms may increase the amount of water damage in caves for instance, while long-term droughts can cause sediments and soil in caves to crack and naturally fall apart,” he said, adding that his team had noticed that some of their sediments had actually developed large cracks due to drought.
“Another effect of long dry spells is that some trees start to die off and caves start to get a lot more exposed to the weather,” he remarked.
Curnoe further said that rock paintings present in these caves would then start fading rapidly due to the increased exposure to light and heat.
He sounded that these detrimental effects may not have been experienced as much previously, but they were becoming more common with global warming.