Bujang Valley: Earliest civilisation in S-E Asia

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Bujang Valley, one of several Indianised kingdoms in Southeast Asia, existed long before neighbouring empires such as Majapahit (1200 AD) and Sri Vijaya (700 AD).


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The early Bujang Valley civilisation between the first and the fifth century (earlier than previously thought) was probably based on animism before coming under Hindu and Buddhist influence from the fifth to the fourteenth century.

Now, here’s the strange thing: most Malaysians and visitors know about Malacca and Penang as historical sites, but few have even heard of the Bujang Valley. (Today is actually George Town World Heritage City Day, a holiday in Penang from this year.) In fact, very few residents of Penang and Kedah know about the fascinating archaeological museum amidst reconstructed Hindu and Buddhist temple foundations, discovered in the valley and relocated to the museum grounds, near a gurgling stream on a lush hill-slope in Merbok in Kedah. The museum is worth visiting if you are interested in the Hindu and Buddhist figurines and other artefacts discovered during excavation.

Archaeological interest covers sites spanning a thousand square kilometre region from Merbok in the north to Bukit Mertajam on mainland Penang in the south. Gunung Jerai, at 1,200 metres the highest peak in Kedah, was the most visible landmark for sea farers heading to the region.

Time to re-write our school history text books, don’t you think?

More information on Bujang Valley in Wikipedia.

Article from http://www.thesundaily.com/article.cfm?id=49019

Bujang valley continues to amaze historians
By: by Himanshu Bhatt (Mon, 05 Jul 2010)

International historians observe archaeological excavations at the site of the 2,000 year old Bujang Valley civilisation in Sungai Batu, Kedah. They have described the man-made structures – the oldest thus far recorded in South-east Asia – as the most pivotal find in the region in the last few decades.

KUALA LUMPUR (July 5, 2010): The Bujang Valley in Kedah, where the oldest recorded man-made buildings in South-East Asia have been discovered, continues to be a source of amazement to historians and achaelogists.

Some of the world’s top historians converged at the archaeological site over the weekend to survey excavation works for the 2,000-year old civilisation which has been hailed in the last few decades as “the most important civilisational find in the region.”

The civilisation there is now known to have existed long before neighbouring empires like Sri Vijaya (700AD) and Majapahit (1200AD).

theSun had reported on March 28 that Malaysian archaeologists had unearthed a 1,900-year-old monument, scientifically dated to 110 AD, built with detailed geometrical precision in Sungai Batu, Kedah.

The monument, which faces the Gunung Jerai mountain, the highest peak in northern Malaysia, is believed to be have been used for ritualistic purposes.

The monument was found surrounded by remnants of advanced iron smelting facilities equipped with furnaces as well as brick jetties built along a river bank.

Dr Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University’s school of anthropology described it as “the earliest monumental site” that showed an important role as an industrial and trading centre.

“This is one of the most important finds in South-east Asia for the last couple of decades,” he said.

India’s Gujarat State Archaeology Department director Yadubirsingh Rawat said there was now indisputable evidence that international trading activities had taken place here in that period.

“The settlers here had full knowledge of iron smelting and jetty construction. This means they must have been connected to other places in the world,” he said.

“The discovery shows that the Bujang valley contributed significantly to maritime trade in the region,” he added.

Also found with the monument were various pottery and a Buddhist tablet with Pallava-Sanskrit inscriptions likely to have been made in the 5th century AD.

The discovery, by the Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR) of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), was made within a three sq km area where a total of 97 mounds have been found. Thus far only 10 have been excavated.

Dr R. Nagaswamy, former director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department said the western coast of peninsular Malaysia was likely a central point in the sea route of international trade in that period.

“From this we not only gain a deeper understanding of the country, but also of world history,” he said.

He also noted that Kedah had attracted rulers from South India, such as the Chola kings, to send their armies there in the 11th century.

The experts are in Malaysia for a conference on the Bujang Valley.

CGAR had announced last week that it had recently uncovered a new site in Jeriang, Kedah, comprising seven ancient furnaces once used for smelting of iron.

New estimates now show that the Bujang Valley settlement covered an area of about 1,000 sq km, mostly around Gunung Jerai, and not just 400 sqkm as previously believed.

Dated 110 AD, the newly discovered Sungai Batu monument in the Bujang Valley is the oldest recorded man-made building in South-east Asia.

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Airata

Students repotered findings of artifact on Hinduism( religions) hidden or kept secret,Why….The Hindus ruled Kadaram(Kedah)long before so call ketuanan Melayu exist.The historians want to change history fooling only the Malays but not the Indians and Chinese because it is available in IT.Don`t make a fool of yourself,the truth is finally revealed

A.Daniel

hoh, kids these days still learn about lembah bujang in their history book.

These civilization was populated by Indinized local population which was the Kedahan. You all know rite that b4 islam, malays were hindu or buddhist? Just becoz that civilization were hindu, that doesnt mean they were indians. China was and still buddhist but that doesnt mean they are indian since buddhism came from india.

Dinesh Nair

needs peer review, but they going for it. RT @elizabethwong: Bujang Valley: Earliest civilisation in S-E Asia http://bit.ly/9YGblG

Yvonne Ho

tis is fanttastic! RT : Latest: Bujang Valley: Earliest civilisation in S-E Asia http://bit.ly/9YGblG

Ms Adzliyana

Good job PPGA USM and of course my buddy MrC! RT : Latest: Bujang Valley: Earliest civilisation in S-E Asia http://bit.ly/9YGblG

In Asia

KUALA LUMPUR (July 5, 2010): The Bujang Valley in Kedah, where the oldest recorded man-made buildings in South-Eas… http://bit.ly/9AwSD1

Amir Muhammad

Bujang Valley is the oldest historical site in S-E Asia! Time we stopped giving so much emphasis to Melaka: http://bit.ly/9YGblG

AainaA-Ridtz A R

RT @amirmu: Bujang Valley is the oldest historical site in S-E Asia! Time we stopped giving so much emphasis to Melaka: http://bit.ly/9YGblG

Wye Jon Lee

RT: @amirmu: Bujang Valley is the oldest historical site in S-E-A! Time we stopped giving so much emphasis to Melaka: http://bit.ly/9YGblG

roseismail

RT @amirmu: Bujang Valley is the oldest historical site in S-E Asia! Time we stopped giving so much emphasis to Melaka: http://bit.ly/9YGblG

Faizah Roslaini

RT @amirmu Bujang Valley is the oldest historical site in S-E Asia! Time we stopped giving so much emphasis to Melaka: http://bit.ly/9YGblG

Salt Media

RT @amirmu: Bujang Valley is the oldest historical site in S-E Asia! Time we stopped giving so much emphasis to Melaka: http://bit.ly/9YGblG

george

hahaha… there is even a more ancient civilisation site The Lost City of Kota Gelanggi at Johor….

Danny

Hahaha..u got that right bro..but some people still argue that the so call city is nothing more than just a myth that was wrote by Tun Sri Lanang even though there was a written record from indian and chinese about it….but the funny thing is, many of these historian believe that Hang Tuah a figure from Tun Sri Lanang book existed even though there is no record what-so-ever about him..hahahahaha..how irony is that!

Hurmmmm

Chi Tu Chi Tu (Malay: Tanah Merah) is an ancient kingdom mentioned in the history of China. The Sui Dynasty (581-618) annals describe an advanced kingdom called Chi Tu. The location of Chi Tu was disputed to be around Kelantan or Pahang state in Malay Peninsula, or in Songkhla and Pattani Province of southern Thailand. The best evidence to support the Kelantan theory was when the envoys left Chi Tu, the sail took 10 days to reach Champa, this indicates the kingdom was located somewhere ‘red earth’ around the main river of Kelantan. The inscribed Buddhagupta Stone found in Kedah… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Chu Dan is the Chinese translation for Gautama. Meanng Gautama Buddha is a Kelantanese of Tanah Merah Kingdom with the capital in Songkhla. Tanah Merah is the birth place of Gautama. There is a temple built by a monk from China. The monk knew this secret. Gautama died at the city of lions which is Singora of Songkhla. What you read in history book is distortion by German priest who (allegedly) fake the finding of Buddha’s birth place. The relic of Gautama Buddha is at a temple on a hill of Songkhla. A temple was built over a rock with… Read more »

K. P. VARAN

Certain political ‘Historians’ like to hide their heads in the sand like Ostriches. They want our children to do the same too. They re write History books but have not been able to re write Geography books and the history books of other Nations. Our children these days are smart enough to read about the past through the IT We do not need ‘trained’ teachers to bull… them about our historical background. It only make our children to call their teachers ‘dopes’ at their backs. The amount of comments you hear from children about the ignorance of their teachers on… Read more »

Salak

“…Arabisation is the word. “ How is that nasri? Arabs were more terrible before Islam. It’s interesting to note that the bleak parts of Asia sent the Mongols, the Turks and the Tartars down to better pasture. The bleak desert sent the Arabs out to greener pastures, too. The urban cowboys of Sarawak went for the thicker foliage in the Sarawak jungles, almost making the Penans extinct (remaining number dwindled down to some 20,000). We might just have to settle for blunt economic reasons why old people did this or that. And we’re now getting better at cheating – with… Read more »

hoh

to add sumting up :

It is quite ironic why indian want to claim this civilization as theirs when they themselves destroy them. Yes, the Chola destroy most of the city during their Srivijaya conquest. And they proudly tell this in their temple in tamil nadu on how they capture the king of Kadaram (kedah) and stole the city’s wealth.

Danny

According to N.J.Ryan: he argues that in Kedah in the North-West of the Malaysian peninsula, there was NO LARGE IMMIGRATION OF INDIAN SETTLERS; rather there was the INFLUENCE of TRADERS and MISSIONARIES. These people, rather like the Europeans in later centuries, were responsible for popularizing their way of life and religion. Many INHABITANTS – MALAY by race – became HINDU or BUDDHIST, and they built the TEMPLES whose remains have been found in Kedah. Thus the POPULATION of Kedah for example, DID NOT CHANGE, and CHINESE REPORTS affirm that the native societies had ADOPTED INDIAN CULTURE BUT HAD NOT BECOME… Read more »

hoh

hoh, kids these days still learn about lembah bujang in their history book.

These civilization was populated by Indinized local population which was the Kedahan. You all know rite that b4 islam, malays were hindu or buddhist? Just becoz that civilization were hindu, that doesnt mean they were indians. China was and still buddhist but that doesnt mean they are indian since buddhism came from india.

nasri

Arabisation is the word.

donplaypuks

Kota Gelanggi, if it’s remnants exist in Johor, is likely to be from the Chola era of 1,000 AD and not older than Bujang Valley.

dpp

Ganesh

Anil, what about the Johor discovery? How come no news on that?

I hear it is even older.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kota_Gelanggi

Asmarada

Johor discovery has been depicted in the movie ‘Puteri Gunung Ledang’. See the movie and find it out yourself.

donplaypuks

I have visited the Bujang Valley site and museum near Sg. Petani. It was actually mentioned more than a hundred years ago in 1864 by British Administrator Colonel James Low who also translated the Kedah Annals in english!! Later in the 1930’s Prof Quaritch Wales did much of the excavations assisted by Prof Nilakanta Shastri from India. Note than whenever there is a press release on Bujang Valley, great pains are taken by our “authorities” not to mention the definitive evidence of Indian Hindus/Buddhists . You will only read about ‘some” Sankrit inscriptions and “Chandis”. These Indians had settled in… Read more »

tunglang

Same goes for Hang Tuah, gone incognito! The truth is harder to stomach for some racist quarters who can’t see the truth other than Ketuanan.

Whateva

I think, there are some people with their “kiasu” or “chauvinism”. They are the one who can’t accept the facts and the natives’ history in Malaysia. Some people can’t accept the natives’ special rights. Let me tell you, what will happen to the natives of Malaysia if they don’t have the special rights? The answer, you can see in the case of Australian aborigines fights/demonstrations. Did you ever see their difficulties? Back to the topic. Did you ever see the history manipulation in Australia? If not, I believe you shouldn’t put yourself in doubt. So do, Malaysian Government, they’re not… Read more »

A.Daniel

And u guys can accept that the malays a.k.a mon-khmer a.k.a orang asli as the original inhabitants in this peninsular…think about it,this peninsular is connected to mainland,rite.. while sumatra java is an island..so, in logical thinking people came from mainland to island not the other way around….its the same as the malays..even though they are not even a malay at dat time..u CANNOT, delete the malay from the history of SEA,..its irrelevant…u claim u guys came here earlier but the malays and the org asli r the earliest…kedah bujang valley is not belong to Indian but its belong to this… Read more »

wandererAUS

This article may make interesting reading…..

The Truth Revealed (with evidence)!

In June 1998, the government of Malaysia had hired a team of experts from all over the world to be gathered here in Malaysia for a research project to compliment the history studies that we undertook in our secondary school.

http://cforum6.cari.com.my/archiver/?tid-642283.html

wandererAUS

Aiyaaa Anil, see what you have done? You have given credibility to Tun M… to claim another feather to his cap!
I have just questioned, “Was there a malay race” after reading the modern history of Malaysia backed with facts…where Chinese remains were found in the Eastern coast of the Peninsular….

Salak

Strange the whole thing just decayed like that. Maybe there was a bigger tsunami last time – a remote but real possibility Or maybe the ET aliens took their cousins back home, exasperated at the not-so-boleh response! 😉 But maybe there was a big epidemic, a disease. Who knows? Between 1300-1450 there was a bad plague in Europe. Same thing could happen elsewhere. Muslim scholars like Khaldun lost part of his family because of that. In Sarawak TB is back. It was eliminated in late 80’s or early 90’s. Our porous borders are as bad as our porous pockets. During… Read more »

nasri

This is situated between Borobudor and Angkor Watt.
There is no reason not to believe in a Tamadun Manusia in this part of the world long before Parameswara set foot in Temasik.

Tourism Malaysia should promote it as a new tourist attraction. Imagine how much revenue to bring to the people in Jerai and Gurun in Kedah.

However, BN will (probably) cover up this dicovery to protect the ‘interest’ … Need not say more.

In the meantime, not sure what our Profesor Sejarah Khoo KK would say on this.

Ferdtan

History Professor Khoo KK will only (probably) say politically correct history, connected with Umno is history.The rest are not history.As the late Judge who infamously loved to say-irrelevant ,irrelevant and irrelevant.

nasri

I heard the History Prof … is now being cold-storaged… Must be the bad karma for twisting the history to suit the agenda of umnoputera.