Current Research on the Rock Art at Gua Tambun, Perak, Malaysia


  • Noel Hidalgo Tan Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia
  • Stephen Chia Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia



The rock art site of Gua Tambun in Perak, Malaysia was first reported by J. M. Matthews in 1959, following the discovery of the rock paintings by a British military officer. An estimate of more than 80 forms of animals, humans, geometric designs and many other indistinct and vague forms of paintings were reported to be found on the walls of the rock shelter. Since then, no further in-depth research of the rock art has been reported, while time and weather have eroded and faded the paintings even more. In early January 2009, the site was revisited by the authors to document and to study the rock art in detail. The rock art was documented using a combination of close-range, high-resolution digital photography and digital image analysis was used to reconstruct and recompose the faded images. Samples of the material used for painting the rock art were also collected for chemical analysis and dating. This paper presents the preliminary findings of the research, which include more than 500 forms of rock art found at the site.