Ancient cave paintings found inside Perak cave

Photo: Bernama

IPOH: A local heritage association has discovered cave paintings estimated to be between 2,500 and 4,000 years old in Gua Kanthan in Chemor here.

Various paintings on the walls and roof of the cave looked as though they have been scribbled with dark charcoals and red colouring in the shape of boats, humans, the sun and animals. The team also found snail shells believed to be of the ‘Brotia Spinola’ type and the skeletal remains of a turtle.

Perak Natural Heritage Geopark Tourist Guides Association (GEONAT) advisor Ching Boon Tat said the paintings were discovered when he and two of his colleagues were exploring the area two weeks ago.

This is the first cave painting found in Gua Kanthan. The paintings still look good and does not appear to have deteriorated. Most probably the cave was used as a settlement by humans of the Neolithic period.

“We have found paintings in the shape of a ship 150cm long with 10 humans in it and a drawing in the shape of the sun and animals like monitor lizards and chicken,” he said to Bernama recently.

Ching said the association hoped that the finding of the drawings could be studied further in detail by archaeologists to gather more accurate information so that the findings could be preserved.

“We have not done a scientific or special study. Instead, we only conducted a general study among association members without the involvement archaeologists. We need to study the paintings and check the cave area using carbon dating,” he said.

Meanwhile an archaeologist with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)’s Global Archaeological Research Centre, Saw Chaw Yeh when contacted said a thorough study needed to be done to identify the exact age of the drawings.

She said generally red-coloured wall paintings have been found to be in existence in Southeast Asia since the Neolithic time where paintings using black charcoal had been used probably for hundreds of years.

“We have not been able to identify the period when the drawings were made. We don’t have an icon or symbol that can assist us in determining the exact date of the drawing.

“Normally, humans in the ancient age would use ‘hematite’ which is a type of stone commonly used in limestone caves in Malaysia. And most probably, at that time they mixed the stone with blood or fruits to draw,” she said. – Bernama