You are here:


The Development of Kedah's Early History Based on Archeological Finds


Colling had decided on the first possibility

A pottery found at Site 17, Bukit Fendiat, Pengkalan Bujang, Bujang Valley.

At the same time, an artifact made of quartz, which was shaped as either an arrow head or the head of a spear was found in Sintok, (Callenfels 1936, Collings 1937). It was found as a result of tin mining activities and this made it difficult for any concrete conclusion to be made based on the artifact alone. However, the find was of great importance into the research of our nation's prehistory as it was the only example to be found indicating the use of arrows of the Neolithic period in our country. We know that natives of the Negrito tribes once used arrows for hunting, although they are now more keen to use blow pipes instead (Endicott 1979). However the evidence from Sintok showed that it was more likely that ancient communities used bows and arrows to hunt. To obtain a more concrete proof, more research must be made on the matter.

Shortly after the Second World War, P.S.R. Williams-Hunt, explored the Northern part of Peninsular Malaysia with the hope of finding more prehistoric sites in the area. One of the places he visited was Bukit Keplu in Kodiang in the district of Kubang Pasu. On this site he uncovered three stone axes of the Neolithic period and tens of pieces of pottery in the shape of cones. Some of them had holes in them. As the pottery pieces were rather unique he came to a conclusion that

"The exact function of these objects remain speculative… can only be suggested that they have some ritual significance, possibly, in association with Buddhism" (William-Hunt 1952:182).

Sieveking disagreed. Based on the way it was made and the designs found on them, he believed that the pottery was made by community of the Neolithic period (Sieveking 1956:194).

A more detailed study of the pieces of pottery found in Kodiang, was made by B.A.V. Peacock (1964). His interest was aroused when an excavation made in Ban Kao in Thailand uncovered three- legged pottery (Sorensen 1972). Peacock managed to reconstruct the pieces of pottery in Kodiang and the result was a three-legged pottery, similar to those found in Thailand. Up to this time, such pottery could be found in other parts of Peninsular Malaysia like Dengkil in Selangor (Leong Sau Heng t.b.) and in Jeram Kawi, Tembeling, in Pahang (Linehan 1928).

Even though it was rather difficult to determine the exact use of such pottery, what was more important was the discovery that there was a connection between these places a long time ago.

It is still rather difficult to make any concrete conclusion on these finds, if it was based on the archeological studies on prehistory, which was made in Kedah. One of the reasons was that these studies were made in an unsystematic manner, resulting in the neglect of subordinate proofs and findings. It also resulted in our knowledge based on the sites being flawed. It is even more difficult to make more study of the sites as most of them, especially those in caves, had been destroyed by bat guano collectors who sold the guano as fertilizers in rice fields as well as for other crops. In any case, it would be difficult for us to find archeological sites in exposed areas as such land in Kedah would had been cultivated for rice resulting in such sites being continuously inundated and disturbed by ploughing activities.

However, there was more than enough evidence to suggest the existence of a long sequence of history, from the Neolithic and the Hoabihian period in the Peninsular. There is of course, no precise dates that could determine the start of one period and the end of another. In any case such finds as stone axes of the Neolithic period at the Hindu/Buddha sites at Permatang Pasir (Sullivan 1958 pl 17) and Gua Kepah, Seberang Perai (Quaritch-Wales 1947) made it clear that communities in Kedah were still using stone implements when Indian traders reached the shores of the State around the fourth and fifth century A.D.

Copyright © 2002 Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Kedah. All Rights Reserved