KUCHING: The state government will embark on building an archaeological park to promote the rich historical sites in the Santubong peninsular.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the project in collaboration with the Museum Department would also incorporate the setting up of the Wallace Centre.
The proposed archaeological park will be built near the “Batu Gambar” historical site at Sungai Jaong, which used to be a trading site dating back over 1,000 years.
Abang Johari, who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, said the setting up of the Santubong Archaeological Centre would commence next year and due for completion in 2019.
“There are a lot of historical artefacts found in the Santubong peninsula and we want to conserve these sites.
“The park will not only become an important attraction for tourists but also a research centre for historians,” he told reporters after visiting several historical sites in Santubong, some 40km from here.
“The archaeological park will depict the early history in Santubong, the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism, Santubong as a trading centre as well as the coming of Islam,” he added.
Abang Johari said there was a consensus among historians that Santubong was a trading port with links to China. Historical artefacts and findings in Santubong dated back almost 1,500 years ago.
Strong influence of the Majapahit and Srivijaya empires could be traced in Sarawak, he added.
The park will be equipped with information and resource centre, gallery, accommodation and tourist facilities as well as retail shops.
Roads will also be built to connect the park with Jalan Sultan Tengah that links Santubong with Petra Jaya.
Traces of iron slag associated with Yueh and T’ang artefacts, which indicated a date of around 1000 A.D, as well as West Asian glass can be found at Sungai Jaong.
Believed to be an ancient industrial site, the most prominent artefact found in this area is Batu Gambar which is a rock sculpture of a human body.
The Wallace Centre meanwhile, is a tribute to Alfred Russel Wallace – a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist – noted for his fieldwork in Sarawak in the 1850s.
Wallace had also jointly published with renowned naturalist Charles Darwin, the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Also present at the visit yesterday was Sarawak Museum’s curator of Natural History and Zoology Dr Charles Leh.