Sad sight: A visitor walks past a vandalised section of a wall near the Tambun Cave. Steps are underway to protect the site from further damage and market it as a major tourist attraction. —SAIFUL BAHRI/ The Star
REALISING the importance of the preservation and conservation of all archaeological and heritage sites in Perak, the state government is set to revitalise the Tambun Cave by building facilities to ensure that the place does not lose its lustre. The caves are famous for its pre-historic drawings,
State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Communications and Multimedia Committee Chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi told MetroPerak that the state government recently finalised the conservation plan for Tambun Cave including the proposal to build a proper entrance and other public amenities.
She said RM120,000has been allocated for the construction, which will commence this month.
The project is being made possible through the collaboration between the state government and the Department of National Heritage.
“To reduce the risk of vandalism, a proper fence will be built around the heritage site.
“For the second phase of this project, we plan to install awnings on top of the cave to protect the drawings from becoming faded due to exposure to the elements.
“To promote Tambun Cave as a must-visit archaeological site, the state government also has a plan to commercialise the site. Parties interested in participating in the project will be invited to apply,” she said.
She said this after being told MetroPerak had visited the site of the cave and found it badly vandalised. Graffiti, including profanity could be seen near the prehistoric drawings.
The pre-historic drawings are located high up the face of a cliff that rises 40m above ground level.
To get to the cave, visitors have to walk almost a kilometre from the petrol station in the area.
Visitors either park by the petrol station, or turn into the housing area behind it and park there.
There are signposts that direct visitors to the edge of stables and a horse exercise area, then over a small stream that leads to a flight of stairs that goes up to the cave.
The gazebo near the staircase is in a sorry state. Tourist also have to be extra careful when climbing up the steps as it steep and covered by undergrowth.
Thought to be about 2,000 years old, the artwork is believed to have been drawn with pigment made from red or brown haematite.
This red-coloured iron-based rock can be found around Tambun Cave, so the “artists” didn’t have too far to go for their materials.
The ancient paintings mostly depict animals and also people from pre-historic era. The main picture, featured in many articles and tourist brochures, is thought to depict a dugong.
Even archaeological researchers, who have studied more than 500 individual drawings, are not really sure what some of the pictures represent.