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.
via The Star, 11 October 2018: From Malaysia’s National Archaeology Seminar held last month, a minister from the Federal government says that many archaeological sites cannot be gazetted in the National Heritage Register because the state governments have not registered them for protection.
When the federal government wants to gazette national heritage sites, the biggest hurdle is getting state governments to agree, says Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
Malaysia has 965 archaeological sites, of which 822 are on land and 143 underwater. But only nine have ever been gazetted as national heritage sites.
“I’m not sure what the motive is, but before we can gazette a place as national heritage and protect it, we need the states to give consent and some states are a bit slow to agree,” he said.
via Free Malaysia Today, 1 November 2018: A story about a World War I naval battle in Penang… and I believe the shipwreck is still there to this day.
Source: Free Malaysia Today 20181101
The Battle of Penang was a brief but deadly action now largely forgotten locally but still marked by the Russians every year.
The battle was mentioned numerous times by Vladimir Putin on his 2003 presidential visit to Malaysia, and on Saturday members of the Russian diplomatic mission to Malaysia remembered the loss of 88 Russian sailors aboard the cruiser Zhemchug (Pearl) during the battle.
Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, allied ships from Britain, France and Russia were in and around Penang harbour. One of these was the Russian cruiser Zhemchug, in Penang for repairs to her boilers.
via Bernama/Malaysiakini.com, 23 October 2018: Universiti Sains Malaysia and SOAS will create a project to digitise the letters of Sir Francis Light, the founder of Penang. The letters offer a window into geopolitical events into the Malayan region at the time. Article is in Bahasa Malaysia.
Naib Canselor USM, Datuk Dr Asma Ismail berkata , koleksi bersejarah yang disimpan di School of Oriental and African Studies, Universiti London itu bakal merubah lanskap sejarah Pulau Pinang malah juga di dunia apabila tercetusnya sebuah projek dikenali sebagai ‘The Beacon of Light @ USM’.
“Ini adalah koleksi digital 1,200 surat, merangkumi 11 jilid dari tahun 1771 hingga 1794, selama kira-kira 23 tahun, semuanya dalam tulisan Jawi,” kata Dr Asma pada Majlis Anugerah Sanggar Sanjung USM 2017, di George Town, semalam.
Raja Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail selaku Canselor berkenan berangkat ke majlis tersebut.
via Borneo Post, 22 October 2018: New materials recovered from the Niah Cave complex pushes the dates of human habitation to 65,000 years and shedding light into early modern humans in Southeast Asia.
Darren Curnoe. Source: Borneo Post 20181012
Human civilisation has been established to exist as far back as 65,000 years ago at Niah Caves complex, Sarawak – vastly exceeding the previous estimate of 35,000 years following the initial discovery of the ‘Deep Skull lady’ at the cave complex.
Discovered in the Niah Caves back in 1958, the ‘Deep Skull lady’ are remains of a female human skull that was ascribed an age of about 35,000 years, making it one of the oldest modern humans discovered in South-East Asia.
via New Straits Times, 16 October 2018: A feature on lesser known Malay manuscripts of Southeast Asia.
THE lack of study on written manuscripts from the Malay Archipelago has led some of us to believe that the ancestral people of this region had either very limited knowledge and/or they weren’t literate enough to put things into written text.
This isn’t true and there are plenty of records and manuscripts. These aren’t limited to subjects like royal genealogy, literature or religious matters but also on healing, disease prevention and medical treatment. And many of these texts have survived the ravages of time and colonisation.
The collection of Malay medical manuscripts is loosely called Kitab Tib — or medical books in Arabic. According to Dr Mohd Affendi Mohd Shafri, from the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences of International Islamic University Malaysia, the earliest surviving text that’s considered Kitab Tib is Sia-sia Berguna from the 1400s by Safiyyudin Abbasi.
He recently organised the International Conference on Malay Medical Manuscripts (ICOMM) 2018 at the International Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur. In the programme forward he says: “In the Malay Archipelago, medical manuscripts number in the hundreds. Many are disintegrating and threatened by natural disasters.