10 May 2022, 8:00am (Malaysian time)


The significance of megalithic monuments in the highlands of Central Borneo

by Dr. Nicholas Gani

Talk abstract:

In this talk, Nicholas Gani considers the relationship between people and megalithic (stone) monuments in the highlands of central Borneo. In his discussion, Nicholas explores the development of the megalith building tradition in the Kelabit Highlands and the cultural links between the megaliths and the Kelabit people, who traditionally built monuments for funerary and commemorative purposes. Nicholas also explores the cessation of the megalithic practice around the middle of the 20th century and the more contemporary engagements with the megalithic monuments in their use as heritage, and contestations of their origins, within the context of wide societal and environmental changes in Borneo. By examining the long-term interactions between people and megaliths in the Kelabit Highlands, this talk sheds light on a newly known aspect of Borneo’s past, and why it matters today.


Nicholas Gani is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. Nicholas recently completed his Doctoral degree in Archaeology at the University of Oxford, and holds a Master’s degree in Archaeology from the Universiti Sains Malaysia, and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include the archaeology of Borneo and Southeast Asia in general, the social significance of objects, public archaeology, and heritage. Building on his doctoral thesis, Nicholas is also currently working on a book project, which documents the social significance of megalithic monuments to the indigenous peoples in the central highlands of Sarawak in Borneo. 

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For link to Zoom session is click here.

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