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Friday October 28, 2011

Research on oldest skeleton in Malaysia coming to an end, says director

KUALA TERENGGANU: The remains of what archaeologists believe to be the oldest skeleton ever found in the country – dating back 16,000 years – will be returned to the site where it was found in Gua Bewah, near here.

To date, local researchers have yet to verify the gender of the remains but they have named the skeleton “Bewah Man” after the cave, near Tasik Kenyir, where it was discovered two years ago.

The skeleton is currently being kept under lock and key at the Terengganu State Museum here, where some 15 archaeologists and scientists had been toiling daily to unlock its mystery.

The Bewah Man is expected to return “home” by the year’s end.

Museum director Yusof Abdullah said local experts and archaeolo-gists were busy constructing the appropriate casing for the special remains.

“Research on the remains is coming to an end. Thus, it is only right for the remains to be returned to Gua Bewah.

“We will ensure that the remains are undisturbed and well-preserved,” he said yesterday.

On unlocking the mystery of the gender of the Bewah Man, Yusof said a team of archaeologists recently discovered dental remains at the dig site in Gua Bewah.

“We believe the new discovery is that of the Bewah Man. However, we will run more tests.

“We hope it will shed some light into the gender of the oldest skeleton in the country,” he said.

He added that all skeletal remains discovered at the site had been sent to experts in the United States for assistance.

“We require help from overseas in order to discover the gender of the skeletal remains.

“We are still awaiting the results of the tests,” he said.

Yusof said local archaeologists are hard at work at the dig site in order to uncover more prehistoric treasures.

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