Overwhelming Response to Workshop

Over 40 people, young and old alike, received hands-on experience to unveil the secrets of prehistoric settlers of Tambun during a half-day public archaeology workshop at Gua Tambun recently. There were plenty of excited gesturing, amazed looks and camera flashes throughout the day which saw a Tambun rock art poster exhibition, rock art hunting and interpretation session among its highlights.

It was part of the Gua Tambun Heritage Awareness Project (GTHAP), a heritage initiative that was started in June by a group of heritage buffs from Universiti Sains Malaysia in collaboration with the university’s Centre for Global Archaeological Research and  local NGOs.

The awareness project is aimed at encouraging local youths to be involved in the conservation of Gua Tambun with its 600-odd documented forms of rock art dating back to 2500-4000 years ago. They are the only prehistoric red-paintings which are available in Peninsular Malaysia.

Spearheaded by archaeologist Dr Goh Hsiao Mei, the team comes down to Ipoh all the way from Penang on a weekly basis. Ipoh Echo had a moment with this inspirational figure whose passion in heritage conservation is second to none.

“We’re launching our website www.tambunrockart.com soon. We’ll publish a booklet on Tambun rock art together with the Perak Heritage Society,” said Mei.

Over RM5000 has been successfully raised via Tandemic Malaysia (www.simplygiving.com/gthap) to support a series of workshops in Ipoh in the months to come.

Mei is currently looking for local volunteers to be a part of the Tambun Heritage Watch. Besides acting as heritage guides, it is hoped that the presence of these regulars would prevent threats to the rockshelter such as graffiti.

“It’s something new for them,” commented lecturer Davin who brought 18 undergraduates from multiple disciplines from Sunway College, Ipoh to the educational workshop.

Eva, the owner of Eloft Hostel, said, “This is one of the caves that I like to hike in and explore. However, before this, there was little information about it. Hence, I am interested in this workshop. I was born and bred in Ipoh and I want to play my part to promote it”.

“It’s good to know where we came from and appreciate what our ancestors had done,” another enthusiastic attendee, Nicola from Australia told Ipoh Echo.

For more information and updates on GTHAP, please follow them on Facebook – Gua Tambun Heritage Awareness Project or drop them an email at tambunrockart@gmail.com.

Mei Kuan

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