Sunday, 15 November 2015

Kedah Tua Sungai Batu Civilisation Complex | Kedah - Where it all Began JK1298

Besides good food and travel, I have other interests including archaeology and history ;-D  So, I was really thrilled that Tourism Kedah brought us to visit the Kedah Tua Sungai Batu Civilisation Complex.

Dated 535 BCE, the Sungai Batu archaeological site is the oldest known civilisation in Southeast Asia.

The site is bounded by rice fields and the imposing Gunung Jerai in the north.

The serene Sungai Merbok marks the complex's southern boundary. Sungai Merbok flows to the west and empties into the Straits of Malacca.

The Sungai Batu archaeological site is located in an oil palm plantation where the relics were unearthed.

The Sungai Batu archaeological site managed by the Department of National Heritage is open to public visits.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Global Archaeological Research Centre director Profesor Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin hosted our visit to the historic site.

Sungai Batu Civilisation Complex has been verified to be an older civilisation than Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobodur in Indonesia (which were built in the ninth and twelfth century, respectively).

Excavation work at the archaeological site started in 2009. The site is systemically marked out in grids.

The site is painstakingly combed inch by inch for possible relics.

Each relic is carefully catalogued and stored for further analysis.

Remains of several primitive iron smelting furnaces at the site indicated that the ancient inhabitants were accomplished iron smiths.

A different furnace design at the complex.

USM graduate student Jeffrey was our guide

There are numerous remains of tuyere (clay pipes used to channel air to fire up the furnaces) found at the site.

The remains of ancient jetties are clues that the smelted iron may be loaded onto boats and shipped out of the complex, possibly to India, Arabia and China (based on written records in these places).

Remains of a large cluster of buildings indicated sophisticated administration at the ancient Sungai Batu complex. It also pointed to a sizable population at the ancient complex and perhaps an ancient "lost kingdom".

The circle-shaped monument assessed to be a place of worship dates back to 110 AD or 1,900 years old by Optically Stimulated Luminescence technique. That makes this the oldest known man made structure in Southeast Asia.

If you are an archaeology or history buff, you will be awed by the relics being unearthed daily at the Kedah Tua Sungai Batu Civilisation Complex.

Kedah Tua Sungai Batu Civilisation Complex is opened to the public at the moment and well worth a visit.


Acknowledgement: My visit to Sungai Batu Civilisation Complex was hosted by Tourism Malaysia and Tourism Kedah.

Date visited: 11 Nov 2015

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