Archaeological investigations in the Niah Caves, 1954-2004



Publication Details

Barker, G., Daly, P., Cole, F., Lloyd-Smith, L., Piper, P. J., Rabett, R. J. & Szabo, K. (2013). Archaeological investigations in the Niah Caves, 1954-2004. In G. Barker (Eds.), Rainforest Foraging and Farming in Island Southeast Asia: the Archaeology of the Niah Caves, Sarawak: Volume 1 (pp. 29-70). United Kingdom: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.


The purpose of this chapter is to summarize the history of archaeological excavation in the Niah Caves between 1954, the first season of the Harrisson excavations, and 2004, the final season of the NCP excavations, and of the studies undertaken by the latter project on the materials from both sets of excavations, to provide the context for the following chapters integrating the results of these investigations. In 2000, when we embarked on the project, we were faced with a series of large voids, most notably in the West Mouth of the Great Cave but also in many of the other entrances investigated by the Harrissons. To exploit the potential of the hugely rich Harrisson Excavation Archive in order to address the research questions discussed in the previous chapter, we had to try to reconstruct what had once been in those voids and to tie that information to the stratigraphic sequences that we were able to establish from our own studies of the surviving archaeological sections.

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