Gua Gunung Runtuh

Excavation at Gua Gunung Runtuh
in 1990. Perak Man was later
discovered about 20cm below.

Note: For security reasons, this site is closed to visitors.

Gua Gunung Runtuh is located at latitude 5° 73N and longitude 100° 58 3 E, approximately 124 metre above the sea level and 75 metres above surrounding secondary rainforest (Photo 2.28). There are three entrances to the cave, of which the most convenient approach is through the south entrance. This cave has 3 chambers. The main chamber opens to the north-east. Two smaller openings to the west and south-east have been blocked by rock falls. Gua Gunung Runtuh is dry and the cave is lit by sunlight coming through the north entrance. Boulders of various sizes and fragments of stalactites and stalagmites lie scattered on the cave floor.

Gua Gunung Runtuh (GGR) was first excavated in 1990 by a team from USM Malaysia headed by Zuraina Majid. The excavation at Gua Gunung Runtuh suggests that man occupied this cave for habitation and burial purposes, beginning about 13,000 years ago until 2,600 years ago. This 1990 excavation significantly placed the prehistory of Malaysia on the world archaeological map with the discovery of Southeast Asia's oldest most complete human skeleton  the Perak Man, radiocarbon dated to 10,120 ± 110 BP (Beta- 38394).

The rest of Gua Gunung Runtuh also provided significant data. Firstly, radiocarbon dates of freshwater gastrod shells at a level close to 2 metres below floor level from two of the trenches dug at the cave gave a date of 13,600 ± 120 BP (Beta-38338) as the possible date of earliest occupation. Shells from a 20 cm layer gave the youngest date of 2,620 ± 20 BP. Intermediate dates collected from shell samples at deeper levels were variously 7880 ± 189 BP, 7920 ± 110 BP, 9460 ± 90 BP, 9930 ± 140 BP and 10,120 ± 110 BP (Perak Man level). This sequence of dates suggests that this particular cave was repeatedly occupied over a 10,000 year long span of time.

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    The location of Gua Gunung Runtuh (GGR) in Bukit Kepala Gajah limestone massif

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    The location of Gua Gunung Runtuh (GGR)

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    Excavation at Gua Gunung Runtuh in 1990. Perak Man was later discovered about 20cm below

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    The skeleton of Perak Man found in - situ with knees drawn up to the chest and a reenactment of how he was buried

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    Abnormal proximal phalanges

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    The skeleton of Perak Man found in - situ with knees drawn up to the chest and a reenactment of how he was buried