Authors : Zuliskandar Ramli
Abstract: Research in Bujang Valley which began since the 1840s by Colonel James Low has led us to the remains of human civilisation from the Proto-historic period in the form of temples (candi), building materials, religious sculptures, inscriptions and other artefacts such as pottery, trade ceramics, glass, metals and also various types of beads. The 160 years of research in Bujang Valley have shown that Bujang Valley developed as an entrepot since the early centuries AD and in the 5th century AD, the Malay Kingdom of Bujang Valley was founded and based in Sungai Mas. Apart from functioning as an entrepot and the centre of the earliest Malay Kingdom, Bujang Valley also successfully became one of the Indo-Pacific bead production centres in the Archipelago. This is proven by the discovery of raw materials to produce glass beads at the archaeological sites and the scientific analysis that was conducted on the beads and the beads raw materials. The scientific analysis involved studies on the chemical composition of the beads and the beads raw materials found in Kampung Sungai Mas, Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah. Composition analysis of the Sungai Mas beads showed that they are different in terms of their chemical composition if compared to the beads from Arikamedu in India, Khlong Thom in Thailand and Palembang in Indonesia. Research and discoveries of beads in Bujang Valley have been reported by Quaritch-Wales on the discovery of glass beads in Merbok in the 1940s and by Alaistair Lamb in Pengkalan Bujang in the 1960s. Alaistair Lamb was the first researcher who took the initiative to conduct chemical analysis on the beads found in Bujang Valley. The research carried out by Lamb led him to associate the beads in Peninsular Malaysia to those of other areas in Southeast Asia such as in Sumatra, Java, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Sarawak and the Philippines. Most of the beads found in Bujang Valley can be classified as monochrome glass beads or Indo-Pacific glass beads and the area where many of this type of bead were found is in Sungai Mas. Other beads found were polychrome glass beads, semi-precious stone beads, metal beads as well as terracotta beads, wooden beads and bone beads. These beads originated from India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia as well as beads made by the local communities.
Zuliskandar Ramli , 2014. Discovery and Research of Various Types of Beads in Bujang Valley, Kedah. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 9: 913-923.