UKM Researchers Discover the 8000 years old Prehistoric Human Skeleton

By Asmahanim Amir

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 December 2018 – A nearly complete prehistoric human skeleton estimated at 6,000 to 8,000 years ago was discovered by a group of researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), and National Heritage Department (JWN) in Gua Chawan, Nenggiri Valley, Ulu Kelantan, recently.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said the discovery was a significant and important for the country’s archaeology as it provides new facts on prehistoric funerals and practices in Malaysia.

He said the human skeleton was found buried with a slightly folded state with the front facing northwards, while the knee side southward and the frame position was facing the right.

“Research results are believed that the skeleton was a teenage girl aged 25 to 30 years old based on the pelvis bone. The right hand was holding food which was snail with alat lepeh There is also a grinding stone (grindstone-pounder) placed on the leg as a tool for the deceased. The foot and head is covered with a limestone” he explained at a recent press conference.

Among the other artefacts found with the skeleton are lithic tools, food waste in the form of animal bones, snail shells, brutal costula and pottery fragments. The litchic tools found include hammer stones, grindstone tools, anvil stones, unidas stone tools, different stone tools, chisels, and spears.

The dental samples and snail shells will be sent to Beta Lab, Florida, USA to obtain a chronometric dating.

Meanwhile, Head of Research, Prof. Madya Dr. Zuliskandar Ramli from the Malay Institute of Nature and Civilization (ATMA) said the area will be developed by the Nenggiri Dam project soon.

“UKM is involved with archaeological rescue excavation projects in the area. There is evidence of past studies showing that people live in the area.

“The earliest data we can gather in the Gua Kecil and Gua Kubang Kelawar at Bukit Batu Tambah shows that the earliest community living in the area was 13,000 years ago in the days of Hoabinh, Mesolithic, Neolithic and metal age up to the present indigenous people there is the tribe of Temiar, ” he said.

He said the study was not concentrated in the Gua Chawan area only but included 12 caves in the radius of 20 square kilometres.