Perak, Malaysia: Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site [SP]

Perak Man
The 11,000 year old Perak Man is the oldest, most complete human skeleton found in Southeast Asia

Something I’ve associated the most to the state of Perak in Malaysia from high school science lessons is its eponymous archaeological discovery, the 11,000 year old remains of Perak Man – the oldest most complete human skeleton in Southeast Asia. It was was discovered in 1991 in Guah Gunung Runtuh cave in the Lenggong Valley.

Last year, four archaeological open-air and cave sites in Lenggong were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley, owing primarily to its status as the oldest record of early man in a single locality outside Africa, spanning a period close to two million years. The World Heritage Site consists of four archaeological sites in two cluster areas, namely, Kota Tampan, Bukit Bunuh, Guah Gunung Runtuh and Bukit Kelapa Gajah.

Lenggong Valley
The Archaelogical Heritage of the Lenggong Valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012

The most accessible site to visit is Kota Tampan, where the Lenggong Archaeological Museum (also known as Kota Tampan Archaeological Museum) has been erected to showcase the archaeological finds of the area. Among the exhibited items are stone tools and skeletal remains. The gallery will soon exhibit the most significant remains of Perak Man, which is currently displayed at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur. The Kota Tampan site itself, where a prehistoric stone tool workshop was unearthed, dates back to as far back as 74,000 years ago. The actual archaeological excavations may be viewed outside next to the museum.

Other workshop sites located farther date from 200,000 to 100,000 years old at Bukit Jawa, 40,000 years old at Bukit Bunuh and 1,000 years old at Gua Harimau. At Bukit Bunuh, evidence of a meteorite strike 1.83 million years ago, which blocked and diverted the river thereby preserving Palaeolithic tools was found. The hand axes unearthed here are among the oldest so far discovered outside Africa.

Lenggong Archaeological Museum
74,000 year old stone tools unearthed from the Kota Tampan site

Behind the museum gallery is the Lenggong Museum Geology Park set amidst an palm plantation, where petrological samples are on display: boulders of suevite, quartz, alluvium and even volcanic ash from the cataclysmic eruption of Toba in Sumatra. Furrther up a hill at the park is a steel watchtower which provides a dramatic view of the river valley and surrounding mountains, far above the dense foliage of palm trees. The beautiful scenery of the lush landscape is testimony to how the Lenggong Valley has provided a fertile and environmentally stable habitat for repeated human occupation since early Palaeolithic times.


Archaeological Gallery of the Lenggong Valley
Address: Department of National Heritage, Kota Tampan, Lenggong, 33400 Perak, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Mon to Sat: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Fri: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Tel: +60 57679700 | Fax: +60 57679703 | Email:

This blog post was made possible through Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia – Perak, a media tour held last October 28 to 31, 2013. The event was organized by Gaya Travel Magazine and Tourism Malaysia in celebration of Visit Malaysia Year 2014

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