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Prehistoric Remains Accidentally Unearthed In Penang

A skull, a femur bone, and a rib cage were found.

Prehistoric Remains Accidentally Unearthed In Penang
Image: USM
The remains are thought to be 5,000 years old and was discovered during construction of a gallery for the Guar Kepah Neolithic site near Kepala Batas, on mainland Penang. 

According to the New Straits Times, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Global Archaelogical Research Centre director Professior Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin said the bones were found 70cm underground as Public Works Department (PWD) backhoes were digging beneath a house that was flattened to make way for the gallery. 

"This is an important discovery not only for us, but the state, and the nation as a whole. Digging works were immediately stopped following the discovery, and we took over to conduct the excavation.

"We have yet to conduct scientific studies, but we estimate it to be around 5,000 years old. More details, such as how the prehistoric people lived, what they ate and their burial patterns, will be released once we complete the studies," Dr Mokhtar told reporters. 

Prehistoric shells, pottery remnants, tool remnants, and food remnants from the Neolithic period were found, documented, and dated here previously in 2010. Mokhtar believes they could possibly find three other skeletons on the site. 

Dr. Mokhtar had previously said that the Neolithic period site at Guar Kepah had the potential to be a major tourism draw. He said the site was the only prehistoric evidence of marine adaptation by prehistoric humans living near the sea in Malaysia. 

Previously, a total of 37 skeletons were excavated from the site after British colonial officer G.W. Earl first discovered shell middens on the site in 1860 but they were all taken to the National Natuurhistorisch Museum in Leiden, Holland.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng will reportedly be allocating a further RM20,000 for excavation works and is in talks to have the skeletons repatriated from Holland to be placed in the new Guar Kepah gallery.