Archaeology in Malaysia – MV Training Tues 02 Oct

By Soumya Kalyani (Batch 16)

One of the speakers on Tuesday 02 Oct was En. Ahmad Hakimi Khairuddin who is with the Department of Malay Socio-Culture / Fine Arts, Academy of Malay Studies, University of Malaya.  En. Hakimi defined the meaning of archaeology and took us through the early phases of man, the Stone Age (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic) and the Metal Age (Copper, Bronze and Iron).  Although archaeology can mean different things to different people depending on their perspective be it a historical perspective, art history, antiquarian or anthropology, it is essentially a reconstruction of the past, to understand a way of life, to then preserve this knowledge for future generations being mindful not to do so for personal gain or for sensationalism.

Neolithic artefacts discovered at an open site at Jenderam Hilir, Selangor (photo taken from the Encyclopedia of Malaysia – Early History, pp20)

Archeology provides through the study of the material remains, how man made sense of his environment and by providing a context through the material evidence, the study of archaeology can be streamlined by providing both the sequence of events and through stratigraphy, documenting as well as dating the sequence, thus providing a detailed analysis.

In Malaysian Archeology the three main time differences are Prehistory – a time period before the existence of written documents, roughly 2.5 million years ago until 1 B.C.E, history a time period with clear documentation, roughly 1,000 C.E until yesterday and Proto-History, a time period between Prehistory and History (i.e 1 C.E until 1,000 C.E), where history of the area can be reconstructed from external writings (mostly Indian, Arabian, Greek and Chinese) but local records do not exist.

En. Ahmad Hakimi then took us through the tools that were created during these early ages and the many sites in Malaysia where such evidence can still be found.

Batch 16 trainees

Schools Programme – 2012

MV runs a special programme for schools whereby schools, organising trips to Muzium Negara, can request MV’s help.  The volunteers will engage the students in activities that are fun and educational.  Led by Cay Maru, the MV School Programme Group has responded to the requests of many schools, both local and international.  Below are MV’s interaction with two of these schools in 2012.

Bukit Jalil Students having a go at Archaeology

84 students and 4 teachers from Bukit Jalil Sports School visited Muzium Negara on 25 April 2012 and they were treated to a fun packed day.

In addition to interesting activities in the indoor galleries which included working through an activity worksheet, the students also had the opportunity to experience working as an archaeologist at the Discovery Room.

On 5 July 2012, MV played host to 21 students and 6 teachers from the Sekolah Kebangsaan Jalan Peel KL, which is a school for hearing impaired students.  The students were treated to a guided tour of the indoor galleries.  Other activities included folding a tengkolok at the Discovery Room and participating in traditional games at Dataran Muzium.

SK Jalan Peel students having fun with traditional games

SK Jalan Peel students folding tengkolok at the Discovery room

Volunteers posing with students of the SK Jln Peel for a group photo