Was Bujang Valley culture the beginning of Malayness?

loading A model of the Bujang Valley estuary civilisation.

FACT 1: The Bujang Valley civilisation, which stretches back to possibly as early as the year 110, is the oldest in South- East Asia, predating Angkor Wat (12th century), Sri Vijaya (seventh century), Majapahit (13th century), Borobudur (ninth century) and the Malacca Sultanate (15th century).

FACT 2: “Valley” is actually a misnomer. The territory spans 1,000sqkm from Bukit Choras in Kota Sarang Semut in the north to Cherok Tekun in Bukit Mertajam in the south, with its eastern flank stretching to Jeriang.

Scholarly interest increased when some 90 mounds were unearthed in Sungai Batu (particularly sites SB1B/SB1D) in 2009. Evidence of advanced iron-smelting furnaces (with air-blowing tuyeres and iron slags), remnants of jetties (as an intermediate “feeder port” between the land mass and water) and an unusual monolith comprising a round base, a square midsection and a hollowed circle in the middle has identified the Bujang Valley as much more than just a random satellite of Hindu-Buddhist candi (small shrines or tombs) often with only the bases extant1.

To read the rest of the article and to access our e-Archive, subscribe to us for RM150 a year.

Related Articles