Pre-historic human remains of Niah Caves on way back to Sarawak after 50 years

Abdul Karim (second left) and the others are seen inspecting the bone fragments.

KUCHING, Feb 27: A total of 122 bone fragments of pre-historic dwellers of the Niah Caves will arrive Kuching next week after 50 years of studies at the University of Florida, USA.

The Sarawak Museum Department in a press statement said the fragments left the US at 4am this morning (US local time), and the whole process was supervised by Professor Dr John Krigbaum of the Florida University, and assisted by the Sarawak Museum Department’s Head of Archeology Unit, Mohd Sherman Sauffi.

Minister of Arts, Culture and Tourism Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said it was an emotional as well as a happy moment.

“I am very pleased that the bone fragments from Niah Cave are finally on their way to Sarawak, after all the efforts put in all this while.

“The efforts started in the year 2010 under the previous Chief Minister Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, where he suggested that the bone fragments that were sent to the United State to be brought back home,” said Abdul Karim after attending to the historical ceremony.

Karim explained that a total 122 bone fragments, which were found in the Niah Cave of Miri during the excavation period between late 1950 to early 1960, were sent to the United States for studying purposes.

He said that the bone fragments were first sent to the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, the USA in 1966 before there were transferred to the University of Florida in Gainesville in 2017.

“After 50 years being ‘outside’ of the country for research activities, our ancestors from Sarawak are now on their way back to their homeland, thank God,” he said, adding that a simple blessing ceremony would be held to welcome the remains of our ancestors to return to their homeland. — DayakDaily