Perak govt plans to shut access to prehistoric Gua Tambun rock paintings

via Malay Mail, 10 July 2018: Gua Tambun is a site that I know very well – I studied it for my MA research a decade ago and have gone back to the site every couple of years. The news article incorrectly calls it the largest site in Southeast Asia, although it is one of the largest sites in the region. From the images in the news story the forest growth has been the heaviest that I’ve seen. The site has always had a problem with maintenance, but most of the rock art itself is well protected because it is out of reach of human hands. If anyone knows how to put me in touch with the relevant authorities, please send me an email – I would be very willing to help with the site’s rehabilitation.

Source: Perak govt plans to shut access to prehistoric Gua Tambun rock paintings | Malay Mail

Outrage over Sia Boey again

via The Star, 06 June 2018:

GEORGE TOWN: The controversy surrounding the development of Sia Boey (old Prangin market) and the Prangin Canal has again sparked anger among heritage activists, this time with allegations that excavation works were being carried out illegally at the site.

GTWHI, in a statement yesterday, clarified that they were not carrying out any excavation works in Sia Boey, adding that its management has adhered to the proper procedure and protocol.

Source: Outrage over Sia Boey again

[Paper] Rare Late Pleistocene-early Holocene human mandibles from the Niah Caves (Sarawak, Borneo)

New paper in PLOS One describing mandibles from the Niah Caves – these were excavated by the Harrissons in 1957.

Rare Late Pleistocene-early Holocene human mandibles from the Niah Caves (Sarawak, Borneo)
Darren Curnoe, Ipoi Datan, Jian-xin Zhao, Charles Leh Moi Ung, Maxime Aubert, Mohammed S. Sauffi, Goh Hsiao Mei, Raynold Mendoza, Paul S. C. Taçon
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196633

The skeletal remains of Late Pleistocene-early Holocene humans are exceptionally rare in island Southeast Asia. As a result, the identity and physical adaptations of the early inhabitants of the region are poorly known. One archaeological locality that has historically been important for understanding the peopling of island Southeast Asia is the Niah Caves in the northeast of Borneo. Here we present the results of direct Uranium-series dating and the first published descriptions of three partial human mandibles from the West Mouth of the Niah Caves recovered during excavations by the Harrissons in 1957. One of them (mandible E/B1 100″) is somewhat younger than the ‘Deep Skull’ with a best dating estimate of c30-28 ka (at 2σ), while the other two mandibles (D/N5 42–48″ and E/W 33 24–36″) are dated to a minimum of c11.0–10.5 ka (at 2σ) and c10.0–9.0 ka (at 2σ). Jaw E/B1 100″ is unusually small and robust compared with other Late Pleistocene mandibles suggesting that it may have been ontogenetically altered through masticatory strain under a model of phenotypic plasticity. Possible dietary causes could include the consumption of tough or dried meats or palm plants, behaviours which have been documented previously in the archaeological record of the Niah Caves. Our work suggests a long history back to before the LGM of economic strategies involving the exploitation of raw plant foods or perhaps dried and stored meat resources. This offers new insights into the economic strategies of Late Pleistocene-early Holocene hunter-gatherers living in, or adjacent to, tropical rainforests.

Source: Rare Late Pleistocene-early Holocene human mandibles from the Niah Caves (Sarawak, Borneo)

8th ASEMUS General Conference in Kuching, Malaysia

Entitled “New Curatorial Perspectives for a Changed World”, the 8th ASEMUS General Conference will be held in Sarawak, Malaysia, 14-16 November 2018.

Source: 8th ASEMUS General Conference in Kuching, Malaysia – Registration open! – Asia-Europe Museum Network

Muzium Negara Pieces Together Origins Of Mankind With Peking Man Exhibit

via The Star, 08 April 2018:

Muzium Negara hosts China’s The Peking Man Exhibition: Zhoukoudian Heritage Site, a touring exhibit shedding light on a species that provides the biological link between ape and man.

Source: Muzium Negara Pieces Together Origins Of Mankind With Peking Man Exhibit | Star2.com

Nine cannonballs found at Fort Cornwallis

via New Straits Times, 04 March 2018:

GEORGETOWN: After the discovery of two cannons, a group of archaeologists and historians from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) found nine cannonballs at the archaeological site of Fort Cornwallis.

Source: Nine cannonballs found at Fort Cornwallis [NSTTV]

See also:

Malaysia firms plunder sunken wrecks for rare steel used to make sensitive medical, scientific equipment

via The Straits Times, 27 Feb 2018: New research on the illegal plunder of shipwrecks in Southeast Asian waters highlight the role of Malaysian firms

SE Asia News -PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Some Malaysian salvage firms are working with an international syndicate to plunder sunken wartime wrecks in search for rare and highly-sought low-background steel, used in sensitive medical and scientific equipment.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

Source: Malaysia firms plunder sunken wrecks for rare steel used to make sensitive medical, scientific equipment, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Archaeologists find two historic cannons at Fort Cornwallis

via The Malaysian Insight, 20 Feb 2018

EXCAVATION works at the historic Fort Cornwallis in George Town, Penang, has unearthed two East India Company (EIC)-era cannons over two centuries old. Both bear the insignia “GR” – Georgius…

Source: Archaeologists find two historic cannons at Fort Cornwallis

See also:

Language previously unknown to linguists discovered in Southeast Asia

via Science Direct, 06 February 2018:

A language previously unknown to linguists — dubbed Jedek — has been found in the Malay Peninsula, researchers from Sweden report. The community in which Jedek is spoken is more gender-equal than Western societies, there is almost no interpersonal violence, they consciously encourage their children not to compete, and there are no laws or courts, according to the researchers.

Source: Language previously unknown to linguists discovered in Southeast Asia