sign in a cave in Laos

11 December 2011

Gua Kelawar drawings, Sg Siput, Perak

Gua Kelawar near Sungai Siput Utara, in Perak, Malaysia, is an archaeological site.
The entrance from a 1992 photo

A study by the Museums Department in 1986 revealed that Gua Kelawar was inhabited as far back as the Hoabinhian period (between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago).

Bones and stone tools from the Hoabinhian period were found. Also cord-marked pottery sherds, animal remains and freshwater shells and marine bivalves.

There were also pottery artefacts and ceramics from the 19th century.

These finds suggest the cave was used from the Hoabinhian through the Neolithic with its pottery using society, and then inhabited by Orang Asli until recent times.

There are also cave drawings, made by orang asli. Charcoal drawings can be found in 14 spots in Gua Kelawar, on the upper and lower entrance decks.

Haematite chunks were found, but these had not been used for the paintings.

The drawings show human figures, animal figures, figures of the universe, abstract figures and boat figure.

Some of the paintings are in good condition, other show signs of deterioration. And sadly there is also a lot of modern graffiti alongside the charcoal drawings.

There are numerous freshwater shells (Brutia) at the entrance. They were probably collected from the Sg Siput river for food.

Inside Gua Kelawar there are some large chambers full of beautiful stalagmites, stalactites and other formations.

See more on Gua Kelawar.

Reference :
A preliminary report on archaeological research and excavation at Gua Kelawar, Sungai Siput, Perak, by Adi Haji Taha & Zulkifli Jaafar, Jurnal Arkeologi Malaysia, 3, 1990.

Gua Kelawar register number Prk 50/02.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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