Archaeologists who have made the discovery of the site, maintain that the Mansuli valley, on the east coast of Sabah, keeps the oldest human settlement in eastern Malaysia.
Hidden within a forest reserve and accessible only by a dirt road, researchers stumbled upon a treasure in 2003, finding more than 1,000 stone tools from more than 235,000 years ago. The research has been carried out by Sains Malaysia University and the Sabah Museum, who are surveying other areas in Keningau for similar sites.
The director of the Center for Global Archaeological Research at Sains University Malaysia, Dr. Mokhtar Saidin, assures that the evidence indicates that the settlements occurred in the Paleolithic, 27,000 years earlier than originally thought. Before discovering this site, it was thought that the oldest human settlement dated to 40,000 years ago, in the Niah Caves, near Miri (Sarawak).
Dr. Mokhtar relates the find to other archaeological sites in Sabah and establishes that the Mansuli Valley has features of having been the home of the people who inhabited the area. He also emphasized the efforts they are making to have it appear in school books.
The new evidence shows that humans from Southeast Asia came to Borneo when the plain of Sunda still existed. The Sunda plain is also known as the Sunda salient and is a geological extension of the Asian continent made up of different land masses, among which are the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Madura, Bali and the rest of small islands around it. It covers an area of approximately 185 million hectares.
Sains Malaysia University professor Jeffery Abdullah, who is also part of the archaeological team, claims that they found the site by chance, while working in the cave of Samang Buat, a kilometer away. "We were walking towards the cave when we found stone tools scattered and hidden between small rocks”Says Jeffery.
For his part, Malaysia's Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun, says more studies were needed and preserve with more interest the historical heritage of the state: “While many archaeological sites are concentrated on the east coast of Sabah, more studies need to be done on the west coast and inland areas so that we can have a more comprehensive and detailed history of what happened here.”.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.