ALOR SETAR 25 JULY 2017. Universiti Sains Malaysia's (USM) Global Archaeology Research Centre (GARC) director Prof Datuk Mokhtar Saidin (right) is briefing Chief Secretary to Sultan of Kedah, Datuk Syed Unan Syed Masri (third from right) at the Kedah Museum today. Pix by Sharul Hafiz Zam

ALOR STAR: Sungai Batu Archaeological Complex in Merbok, which is recognised as one of the oldest sites of human civilisation in Southeast Asia, is ready to be listed under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (Unesco) World Heritage site.

Universiti Sains Malaysia's (USM) Global Archaeology Research Centre (GARC) director Prof Datuk Mokhtar Saidin said at the moment, the Sungai Batu site has met all the criteria needed to support its application for the precious world heritage listing.

However, he said it was up to the National Heritage Department to initiate the application process.

“We have prepared research data to support Sungai Batu as a World Heritage Site and ready to submit it to the National Heritage Department if required,” he told reporters after attending a talk on "Archeology And Trans-border Of Culture" at Kedah Museum here today.

Mokhtar added that, so far, his team of archaeologists have dug up 57 of 92 sites, which they had mapped out since 2007.

Last year, five world-renowned archaeologists confirmed that the site located in the Bujang Valley was over 2,000 years old, which was older than Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia and Borobudur Temple in Indonesia.

The complex has been considered a complete civilisation and has its own advanced iron smelting sites, a town and a sea port.

“We hope that with the Unesco's listing, we will be able to uncover more historical findings in Sungai Batu,” he said.

USM's GARC was previouslt involved in preparing research dossier for the Lenggong Valley when Perak government applied for its World Heritage Site listing, which was subsequently approved by Unesco.

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