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Research Activities

The centre adopts multi-disciplinary research approaches through cooperation with local and foreign researchers from Southeast Asia, China, India, Bosnia Herzegovina, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Pakistan.

Intensive research programme of the centre has extended the knowledge of prehistory in Malaysia to more than 1.83 million years with the discovery of Bukit Bunuh, Lenggong, Perak in 2009. Other important sites discovered include Bukit Jawa (about 200,000 years ago), Kota Tampan (74,000 years old Lithic workshop), and Gua Harimau (a burial site with the earliest evidence of Bronze Age technology in Malaysia). The centre’s research activities in Sarawak (Kakus, Bau and Niah) and Sabah (Bukit Tengkorak, Melanta Tutup, Bukit Kamiri, Balambangan, Tingkayu, Mansuli, Samang Buat, Kinabatangan, Bingkor, Keningau and Marudu) have also yielded exciting new results and data to both the Malaysian and Southeast Asian prehistory.

Recent archaeological research in Sungai Batu, Bujang Valley, Kedah has also gave many significant discoveries in 2007. To date, the excavations at Sungai Batu have unearthed archetype structures such as a ritual monument, iron smelting sites, riverside jetties and administrative building. These structures have been dated to as early as the 5th Century BC, putting Sungai Batu as the earliest civilization in Southeast Asia. The findings of seven in situ iron smelting furnaces in Jeniang, which is located 40 km to the northeast of Sungai Batu, revealed that the Lembah Bujang civilization covered an area larger than what was initially thought. Sungai Batu has been declared a National Heritage Site in year 2013.

In short, the centre’s research activities have generated more than 90% of new data and knowledge on the prehistory of the country and contributed towards rewriting many sections of the Malaysian prehistory through revised interpretations of numerous earlier works carried out during the colonial times. The centre is also in the process of updating the archaeological data for Lembah Bujang, especially in Sungai Batu’s protohistory chronology.