via Kajo Mag, 06 Mar 2019: An overview of jar burials in Borneo.
Today, the act of putting several family members in a large tomb is still practiced by some of the Kayan and Kenyah communities in Sarawak. Except that these large wooden chambers are now made of bricks and look like small, well-decorated houses.
However, the custom of jar burial in Borneo is no longer practiced and have been replaced by the more conventional wooden casket.
via South China Morning Post, 19 Feb 2019: I’ve covered a number of stories about Malaysian nationalism and archaeology; this one focuses on the ‘who arrived first?’ question in Malaysia, with archaeology (and the Bujang Valley in particular) being one of the battlegrounds between ethnic Indians and Malays. It’s impossible to determine ethnicity through archaeology but it hasn’t stopped people from trying!
In what was seen as a response to Kulasegaran’s speech, in October the National University of Malaysia’s Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation organised a forum entitled “Polemics of Indian presence in the Malay Peninsula: Migration or Immigrants?”.
The event drew flak from the Indian community, particularly since all four panellists were ethnic Malays.
Indian students at the university objected to the forum, leading a state politician to suggest that the participation of non-Malay academics would calm the waters. In an attempt at damage control, the university changed the name of the forum to “The population and ethnic movements in the Malay Peninsula from the perspective of archaeology, culture and history”.
via Universiti Sains Malaysia, 03 February 2019: A short video of Prof Mokhtar Saidin from the Centre for Global Archaeological Research showing the Chief Minister of Penang the finds from Fort Cornwallis.
The Sarawak government will re-submit nomination for the Niah Caves National Park in Miri Division to be a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Site, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said an archaeological works carried out by researchers from University of New South Wales, Australia, showed evidence of human settlements at the caves dated back to about 65,000 years ago.
“On record, human settlements in other parts of the world is about 40,000 years ago, but the Niah caves have evidence to show that the settlement was much more earlier,” he said at the opening of the stakeholders consultation on the proposed forestry policies here.
Readers in Malacca may be interested in this double lecture organised by ICOMOS Malaysia on 23 Feb 2019 focusing on the archaeologies of Singapore and Malaysia.
ARTIFACTS BENEATH YOUR STREETS Date: 23 February 2019 Time: 10:30-13:00 Venue: Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre, No. 54-56 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Banda Hilir, Melaka
Organised by ICOMOS Malaysia & ICOMOS Singapore Supported by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia & NUS Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre
Session 01 Port Settlements & Urbanisation: Historical Archaeology in the Malay Archipelago by Lim Chen Sian
In popular imagination, archaeology is typified by dust-covered individuals excavating for wondrous artifacts from lost civilizations hidden in the jungle or desert. While certainly not factually incorrect, it is a somewhat romantic portrayal of the work and people. Increasingly, archaeologists can be encountered quietly excavating in the city center or a suburban neighborhood nearby. Archaeology is the study of past societies, and the archaeology of urbanization and modern settlements are some of the many themes of research.
Archaeological investigations of port settlements such as Melaka and Singapore are still underexplored and much can be told from the material cultural remains that lay unobtrusively around us. Melaka and Singapore are prominent examples of the long history and evolution of harbors and cities in island Southeast Asia over the past millennium. What does the archaeology of downtown Singapore and Melaka and other port settlements in the Malay Archipelago reveal? What connects these seemingly disparate polities?
This talk looks at how archaeologists study and interpret the distant and more recent past of port settlements, and how the specialized sub-field of historical archaeology is making inroads unveiling new dimensions to our understanding.
Ruination in the City: Challenges in Malaysian Urban Archaeology by Shaiful Shahidan
Urban development in Malaysia frequently ignores or relinquishes the need for saving and safeguarding the history of a place. A constant “collision” between conservation values and the need for development, present a continuous challenge in the field of urban archaeology and heritage conservation in Malaysia, as reflected by few cases in the recent past. What are the factors that cause this collision? What is the best approach to balance the development needs and sustainability of heritage within the city? Nonetheless, in recent years, there has been a considerable change in the urban areas, especially among the stakeholders and the public, with increasing mindfulness regarding the preservation and conservation of heritage.
This presentation will feature a problem encountered in archaeological works in urban areas as well as its future sustainability. It will also discuss on few approaches of bringing the local community together to conserve and preserve their heritage, in both urban and semi-urban setting.
Profile of Speakers
Lim Chen Sian is the Vice President of ICOMOS Singapore, and an Associate Fellow at the Archaeology Unit, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. He is a historical archaeologist interested in the transitional period between pre-and-post European contact in Southeast Asia and the development of port settlements, military fortifications, and the material culture of trade. He has excavated in Central America, Burma, Egypt, Java, Kampuchea, Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra. He has been involved in Singapore archaeology since 2002. As of 2006 he led all the major archaeological investigations in the country, and works extensively on lobbying for legislative changes pertaining to the necessity for impact assessments, protection of archaeological sites, and artifact ownership.
Shaiful Shahidan is a Council Member of ICOMOS Malaysia, as well as an ASTS Fellow at the Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was a recipient of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship under European Commission and has spent several years of training in field archaeology in Europe and Southeast Asia. He was also one of the expert panels for the Lenggong Valley dossier preparation, before its inscription into the UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the past 15 years, he has been involved in archaeological research in Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, covering extensive research and analysis. His current work focuses on field archaeological project in key sites within the Georgetown World Heritage Sites.
via Malay Mail and other sources, 18 December 2018: Archaeologists in Malaysia announce the discovery of a Mesolithic-period skeleton in Kelantan.
Department of National Heritage senior museum assistant Khairil Amri Abd Ghani examining the skeleton found in Gua Chawan, Kelantan. Source: The Star, 20181218
The skeleton from the Mesolithic period or middle stone age, was found by researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), archaeologists from National Heritage Department (JWN) and researchers from the History Department, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris during the archaeological excavation at the cave.