The declaration was made and co-signed by Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, Vice-Chancellor, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Dato’ Hj. Yunus Abdul Razak, the Director of the Minerals and Geoscience Department Malaysia at the Centre for Global Archaeological Research, USM today.
USM has been conducting research and monitoring of the Bukit Bunuh site since 2001 and has been leading archaeological research in the important location. In 2007, the site drew world-wide attention following the discovery of the hand-axe, dating back 1.83 million years, thus proving the existence of human activity in South East Asia during that period.
Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli in his speech said that the discovery and declaration have to be viewed seriously because it provides Malaysia with the opportunity to develop its history and make this country the point of reference for world archaeology and geology.
“Even more important is that Bukit Bunuh has proven that local scientists can no longer work alone because the research at Bukit Bunuh involves expertise from various fields, including archaeology, geography, geology, medicine and also dentistry. We have to learn from this model and this means that great discoveries can be made only when there is collaboration from experts in different fields,” he said.
According to Dato’ Hj. Yunus, the Minerals and Geoscience Department will discuss with Perak government about the form of help that is required to preserve the site which has high geological value.
“We will continue to hold discussions with USM and see what form of help can given from time to time,” he said.
When commenting about the conferral of the special staus, Assoc. Prof. Mokhtar Saidin, Director of USM Centre for Global Archaeological Research said the Bukit Bunuh site, which is about 4 square km in size, is the only suevite stone site in Asia and among only 27 in the world to house rare suevite rocks from the impact of a meteorite.
“Based on the type of rocks found, we will be able to collect data and find important evidence related to the impact of the meteorite 1.83 million years ago, analyse the structure of the earth’s surface and obtain vital information related to the life of the early settlers in this area almost 2 million ago,” he said.
He added that USM has been informed by the National Heritage Department that UNESCO valuators are expected to arrive in Malaysia in July to visit the Lenggong archaeological site before it is declared a World Heritage Site, possibly next year.