Thursday, April 19, 2012

Archaeologists hit 'gold' at Mansuli

Archaeo­l­ogists stated the oldest human completion in east Malaysia of Mansuli Valley in Sabah's east coast Lahad Datu district houses. Tucked inside a forest store and reachable only by a dirt road, researchers stumbled upon a treasure trove in 2003, finding more than 1,000 stone tools that are believed to date back 235,000 years.
The research was mutually carried out by Universiti Sains Malaysia and Sabah Museum, which are also presently looking at other prospective sites in the state's interior Apin-Apin district in Keningau. USM Centre for Global Archaeo­lo­gical Research director Prof Dr Mokh­tar Saidin said the proof showed people settled in Sabah during the Paleolithic period (also known as the Stone Age), 27,000 years earlier than formerly thought.
Before this, it was claimed the oldest human agreement, dating back about 40,000 years, was in the Niah Caves, near Miri, Sarawak. Dr Mokhtar said this in a talk to mark the launch of the Archaeology in Malaysia exposition by state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun at Sabah Museum here yesterday. The professor said the new facts showed that humans from the South-East Asian mainland came to Borneo when the Sunda Plain still existed.
Dr Mokhtar said that when connected to other Paleolithic archaeological sites in Sabah, the Mansuli Valley site recognized that the early humans had constantly made this part of Borneo their home. He said efforts were being made to put this information into school books. USM lecturer Jeffery Abdullah, who is part of the archaeology team, said they found the site by chance while working on the Samang Buat cave, about a kilometre from the site.
"We were walking to the cave when we found stone tools scattered and hidden among small rocks," said Jeffery, who is pursuing a doctorate in archeology at the university. Masidi said more should be done to study and conserve the state's historical heritage. "While many archaeological sites concentrated in Sabah's east coast, more studies need to be held in the west coast and interior areas so we can get a better understanding on Sabah's history as a whole," he said.

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