New light on Hindu-Buddhist civilisation

Archaeologists from world over will gather in Malaysia to throw light on the thriving Hindu-Buddhist civilisation.

Last Updated: Jul 07, 2010, 09:02 AM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Archaeologists from India, US, China and South East Asia will gather here Wednesday to throw light on the thriving Hindu-Buddhist civilisation and earlier cultures that existed in the `Bujang Valley in Malaysia`s Kedah state between the 5th to 14th century.

According to reports archaeologists had unearthed temple ruins and artefact`s dating back to more than 1500 years there.

Nearly 28 academic papers are scheduled to be presented at the international conference on "Bujang Valley and Early Civilisations" in South-East Asia organised by the centre and the Department of National Heritage of Malaysia.

Researchers from University Sains Malaysia (USM) recently found ancient furnaces for iron smelting in Jeniang, the size was estimated to be 35 km in radius compared to 15
kms in radius before.

"This means the Bujang Valley civilisation area encompassed about 1,000sq km three times the size of Penang island and not 400 sq km as thought before," Team leader
Assoc Prof Dr Mokhtar Saidin said.

Mokhtar said the southern area of the Bujang Valley, literally Dragon Valley, civilisation in Merbok, Kedah state in northern Malaysia still stretched from Merbok to Bukit Mertajam but the eastern side which previously ended at the North-South Highway now stretched till Jeniang.

Mokhtar said a team of eight researchers from the Centre for Global Archaeological Research found the furnaces in Jeniang, which is about 30km from Bujang Valley.

He said the team, which conducted excavations from February 2009 to May this year found complexes such as ritual sites and industries of early civilisation in Bujang Valley
which was based on the iron industry.

"We excavated 10 sites along Sungai Batu in Bujang Valley and found evidence that furnaces was used by the ancient civilisation," he was quoted by online reports as
saying.

After dating samples of iron smelting sites, he said an early civilisation which was probably based on animism existed there between the first and fifth century.
But from the fifth century to the 14th century, the area was a thriving Hindu and Buddhist civilisation, he added.
According to Tourism Malaysia the prosperous ancient kingdom in the region had a mixture of various civilisations with a colourful combination of culture and traditions of the locals (Malays), Indians, Chinese, Srivijayan, Khmer Empire and West Asia.

PTI