Monday, August 04, 2008

Neolithic burial site discovered in Batu Niah

Malaysian archaeologists have discovered Neolithic burials in the Niah-Subis limestone hills in Batu Niah on the island of Borneo.

Eight skeletons were discovered along with other artifacts including pottery. I hope that they will try to extract some genetic material from these skeletons. It will also be interesting to see, especially if the earlier dates of around 3,000 years ago are valid, as to whether there is any linkage with the Lapita-type pottery of Oceania.

Paul Kekai Manansala


Bernama - Saturday, August 2

KUCHING, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- A research team from the Centre For Archaeological Research Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the Sarawak Museum Department has discovered an ancient burial site, believed to be from the Neolithic period, at Gua Kain Hitam in the Niah-Subis limestone hills in Batu Niah, Miri division.

Sarawak Museum Department deputy director Ipoi Datan said today the excavations at the site, funded by the National Heritage Department in 2007 and the USM Research University Grant last year, has so far uncovered more than eight human skeletons, dating back 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.

"The human skeletons as well as the associated artifacts such as pottery, ornaments and food remains like shells and animal bones are currently being analysed in order to extract more information about the burials and lifestyles of the ancient people who lived in the Niah-Subis region during that time," he said in a statement here.

He said the new finding would not only enrich knowledge on the early history of Sarawak and the nation but also expected to attract more local and foreign tourists to visit the site, which is located in the Niah National Park.

The Sarawak Museum Department is asking for public cooperation in not disturbing or encroaching into the site as the finds had no commercial value but only contained valuable research and academic significance, he said.