Feb 9, 2005
Archaeologist tells of lifelong quest | The Star
BY AUDREY EDWARDS
BANGI: He has criss-crossed Malaysia to unearth prehistoric ruins but the possible lost city in Johor is one that has proven elusive all these years.
“I have always wanted to locate it.
“My search for the lost kingdom is to satisfy my curiosity and finding it would prove my theories are true,” said archaeologist Prof Datuk Dr Nik Hassan Suhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation.
Only Dr Nik Hassan Suhaimi, 61, believes that the possible lost city, which independent researcher Raimy Che-Ross has said is probably Kota Gelanggi, might actually have been known as Klang Kiu.
Dr Nik Hassan Suhaimi said that getting into the area where the city is believed to be would require proper planning to ensure safety and security.
“We have to plan things properly to find the lost kingdom of Klang Kiu. We have to be very careful because the area was a 'black area' during the Emergency period.
“We have to involve the police, military, geologists, surveyors and foresters. The plan is to go in during the next few months,” he said.
He said the process of locating the site, which included carrying out aerial photography, remote sensing and cross-checking with the Survey Department, was going on.
Dr Nik Hassan Suhaimi’s love affair with archaeology began 33 years ago and he had been involved in excavations at Kedah's Bujang Valley and Perak's Kuala Selingsing and Gangga Negara (now known as Beruas).
EXCAVATION MEMORIES: Dr Nik Hassam Suhaimi showing pictures of the Tasik Chini expedition in Bangi recently.
The most recent excavations he was involved in were at sites along the Johor River and Tasik Chini.
“Archaeology is the love of my life because I get to spend most of my time searching for something new – although it is old,” he said.
His most exciting dig was at Kuala Selingsing in 1980.
“There were not many people to track down the site or who could withstand the various problems associated with the place such as water supply problems, mosquitoes and the negative aspects of the environment,” he said.
He added that one also had to stay at the site for weeks and in the process unearth objects such as old human bones.
“There were just so many ancient human remains. We kept digging and we came across them at every strata until we reached the lowest level where we found one which was dated 200BC.”
He said anyone who found the lost city should be lauded.
“I am not bothered who discovers it. I will be happy to know that someone has, because as an archaeologist and historian, I feel proud that the country has such a heritage site,” he added.