Saturday, March 12, 2011

Penemuan Sejarah - Monumen Sungai Batu, Kedah

Kerja-kerja penggalian sedang rancak dilaksanakan

Monumen Sungai Batu yang baru ditemui dianggarkan bertarikh 110 Masehi

Penemuan demi penemuan. Yang terkini adalah penemuan sebuah monumen di Sungai Batu, Kedah yang bertarikh dianggarkan 110 masehi. Satu penemuan yang menakjubkan. Dan ia dipercayai telah wujud lebih awal dari empayar Srivijaya (700 masehi) dan empayar Majapahit (1,200 masehi).

Pantai Barat Semenanjung Malaysia memang sudah lama dibincangkan oleh ahli sejarah sebagai sebuah pusat maritim antarabangsa. Dan penemuan ini telah menguatkan lagi bukti bahawa Lembah Bujang adalah sebuah pusat perindustrian dan perdagangan yang penting berkurun-kurun lama dahulu.

Yang pastinya, penemuan hebat ini bakal mengubah penulisan sejarah Malaysia dan Nusantara Asia Tenggara.

Akan ada nanti perbandingan antara tamadun Lembah Bujang yang wujud sejak 110 masehi dengan 2 tapak 'Warisan Dunia' di Melaka yang hanya wujud pada abad ke 13 dan Georgetown, Pulau Pinang pada abad ke 19!.

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.

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