Niah Cave artifacts on way home?


Ipoi Datan

KUCHING: It would take two to three years for artifacts taken from Niah Cave in the 1950s by archaeologists from Nevada University, USA to be returned to the state.

According to Sarawak Museum Department director Ipoi Datan, the process of acquiring all 122 skeletons taken from Niah Cave in Miri was done with cooperation from the National Heritage Department.

“There are several procedures that we need to follow and it will take another two to three years before we will reach something,” Ipoi said when met by reporters after the launching of a photography exhibition at the Sarawak Art Museum yesterday.

It was Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who brought up the subject when he officiated at the opening of an international seminar on Borneon Archaeology back in 2010. He said the artifacts were an important part of the state’s heritage.

The archaeologists who had taken the artifacts had made some initial reports on their study but none were ever published.

On another matter, Ipoi said the Sarawak Museum Department would come up with an exciting programme this year starting with a burial exhibition of various ethnic groups at Dewan Tun Abdul Razak and the Sarawak Beads Exhibition to be held in Banjarmasin in Kalimantan.

“We will also hold for the second time the Dino Trek exhibition in collaboration with Petroscience at Petroleum Museum in Miri.”

The Museum Department, he added, was assisting in the conservation work of a few traditional longhouses in the state.