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Nature volume 145, pages 112113 (20 January 1940) | Download Citation



New Neolithic Site in Ulu Kplantan, Malaya THE results of the partial excavation of a rock-shelter at Gua Měntěri on the banks of one of the tributaries of the Sungai Nenggiri have been described by H. D. Noone (J Fed. Malay States Mus., 15, 4; 1939). The shelter is about 50 yards in length, 20 yards in height, and of an average breadth under cover of 9 or 10 yards. Two trial trenches were dug, but barely 10 per cent of the area available for excavation was touched. Nevertheless, finds were exceedingly numerous. Except where removal was imperative, they were so far as possible covered in again pending the systematic excavation which the importance of the site demands. It affords strati-graphic evidence for the neolithic period, which is urgently needed; and in the human skeletal remains from the burials it will throw light on the at present obscure problem of the population which carried the neolithic culture into Malaya. The grave goods included pots in rows, and disposed in one instance in threes, one inside the other in the inverted position. The eight complete specimens now recovered are unique as evidence of the character of the neolithic pottery, previously known only from sherds, except for a few complete pots from open sites found without associations or stratification. The trial excavations of two trenches revealed three cultural layers, of which the uppermost at a depth extending to 2½ ft. below red clay was rich in relics of a fully developed neolithic, among which three polished axes were found, preceded, it would appear, by an earlier developmental period. This, in turn, was preceded by a cultural layer of an intermediate character marked by the occurrence of numbers of worked flakes of a black stone, which when struck behaves like flint. The earliest cultural level contained palæolithic implements (Hoabinian). In this three intrusive (neolithic) burials with grave furniture were found, the lowest at a depth of five feet below the red clay. Apart from that associated with the burials this lowest level contains no pottery.

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