Bujang Valley comes 400 years closer to stake claim as Emperor Ashoka’s Svarnabhumi mission site
Posted on July 9th, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR:

Malaysian Cabinet keen on further research on Bujang Valley (Bujang Valley comes 400 years closer to stake claim as Emperor Ashoka’s Svarnabhumi mission site)

Lembah Bujang, in northern Malaysia latest archaelogical findings far predates Angkor Wat, Borobodur, etc. They have already found a Buddhist stupa dating back to the 1st Century AD at the Lembah Bujang archaelogical site. Claims by Myanmar, Thailand or Cambodia that they are indeed the Svarnabhumi land which Emperor Asoka sent his missionners- Sona and Uttara, will now find a new competiting claim- Lembah Bujang! This discovery and more to come will be rewriting the history of South East Asia as we know it currently. It has become the oldest man made monument in the entire SE Asia found to date. 
 
KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet is keen that research on the Bujang Valley archaeological site, where traces of a 2,000 year-old civilisation have been found, is furthered with an allocation under the 10th Malaysia Plan.
 
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim said yesterday (6 July 2010) he is working on getting an as yet undetermined amount as there are significant cultural and economic prospects, including for tourism, at the area in Kedah.
 
“I have informed the Cabinet about this find and it is keen that the research is continued,” he added.
theSun reported on March 28 that Malaysian archaeologists had unearthed a monument dated 110 AD “”…” the oldest man-made building recorded in South-east Asia “”…” in Sungai Batu, Kedah.
 
Built with geometrical precision, 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.
 
Rais stressed that the Bujang Valley is now set to take its place in history along a timeline earlier than that of major historic sites in the region like Angkor Wat (11th century AD) and Borobodur (8th century AD).
 
“If indeed the Sungai Batu find in the Bujang Valley factually revisits the civilisation that existed in the 1st century AD, then the history of this country will almost certainly have to be re-written in its proper civilisational context,” he stressed.
Rais said this while officiating at the “ƒ”¹…”International Conference on Bujang Valley and Early Civilisation in South-east Asia’ at the Royale Chulan Hotel here. Also present were Heritage Commissioner Datuk Prof Emeritus Zuraina Majid and USM’s Centre for Global Archaeology Research (CGAR) Dr Mokhtar Saidin.
 
The three-day conference, organised by the National Heritage Department and USM, features 24 foreign scholars from Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, China, India, USA and the UK.
 
The main focus of the gathering is the 4sq km area at Sungai Batu that has presented 97 new sites of the Bujang Valley civilisation. Thus far only 10 have been excavated. (The total number of sites found in Bujang Valley, around Gunung Jerai mountain, since the 1840s now comes up to 172.)
Rais noted that there had been earlier emphasis on the Bujang Valley as an Indianised outpost, with its strong Hindu-Buddhist influences from 6th to 12th century AD.
“Knowing that some mantra inscriptions have also been found in the course of their (archaeologists) research I do hope that the Sanskrit mantra will serve as a lingual window to our past,” he added.
 
“I take a special interest myself in this area as Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia are presently strewn with a massive array of Sanskrit words,” he said.
“With sites such as the Bujang Valley in Kedah and the Lenggong Valley (pre-historic finds) in Perak, the world will beat a straight path to our doorstep, to visit our rich cultural sites, enriching immensely or national identity and tourist industry,” he added.
He said he had also instructed his ministry to give necessary funding required for the research and development of the site.

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