MERBOK: A total of 47 spots at the archaeological site in Sungai Batu, Merbok near here have been mapped out for the excavation of artefacts on probably the oldest civilisation in Southeast Asia.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Global Archaeological Research Centre director Profesor Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin said efforts to trace historical remains would obviously take time as research works had to be carried out meticulously.
“Work to open up the 47 sites itself took about five years to complete as mapping is a slow process.
“From the 47 sites opened, we found four functions namely iron smelting industry site, a port with 10 jetties, a ritual site for worship at Gunung Jerai and 13 administration buildings,” he told Bernama when met at the Sungai Batu archaeological site in Merbok here.
He said the team would also proceed to open another 50 sites in the area in stages.
Mokhtar said USM had provided a RM1 million grant this year for him and his team to continue with research and excavation at the 50ha archaeological site.
“The findings were believed to have dated back to the 5th century BC, however there are still many key functions which we have not found including the burial ground, settlement and brick factory,” he said.
He said the iron smelting site found by his team was one of the shocking discoveries so far as it showed the iron industry had been established much earlier.
The “Jom Cari Kedah Tua” programme was held from Feb 28 to March 2 involving 109 participants to give them the exposure in excavation work.Participants of the programme organised by the Early Kedah Civilisation Research Secretariat comprised students of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Merbok and media practitioners. – Bernama
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