Warta Geologi, Volume 46, No. 1, April 2020, pp 6-11


Mineralogical evidence from Bukit Bunuh impact crater and its contribution to prehistoric lithic raw materials

Nurazlin Abdullah*, Nor Khairunnisa Talib, Mokhtar Saidin
Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
* Corresponding author email address: nurazlin.abdullah@gmail.com

Abstract: The Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR), USM has conducted a geoarchaeology research at Bukit Bunuh, Lenggong since 2008, and has proven that the site is an in-situ Paleolithic and meteorite impact crater. Recent studies and researches in geology and geophysics have also proven that Bukit Bunuh is a meteorite impact crater. The evolution of archaeological studies in Lenggong valley had made it being listed as one of UNESCO world heritage sites on 30 July 2012 through its chronology and importance to the country and world. The evidence of handaxe embedded in the suevite with the dating 1.83 million years shows a clear connection between archaeology and geology at Bukit Bunuh. The Paleolithic humans at Bukit Bunuh had chosen different raw materials to be used as stone tools and their equipment. Most of the stone tools were from cherty metasediment and quartzite, while some were made from suevite and quartz. The Planetary and Space Science Center (PASSC), based at University New Brunswick, Canada, has listed six criteria for indentifying an area as a recognized meteorite impact area. One of the criteria is the presence of high pressure mineral polymorphs within in situ lithologies. This mineralogical research focused on identifying high pressure minerals. Samples taken in this research was heavy minerals. The samples were collected using panning method at Bukit Bunuh, Lenggong and its vicinity. Sampling was done in three phases and 51 samples were analyzed using XRD. As a result, the analysis indicates the presence of high pressure mineral polymorphs in the samples such as stishovite, coesite, akimotoite, ringwoodite, reidite and wadsleyite. This may be the main reason why the edges of the stone tools, especially the flake tools and chunk tools mostly show that they have not been retouched. In addition, the identification of these minerals has proven that the rocks at Bukit Bunuh were good raw materials in terms of strength and durability compared to other types of rocks. Interpretation of lithic industry technology at Bukit Bunuh shows that manufacturing technology by Paleolithic humans are advanced with their raw materials.

Keywords: Heavy minerals, high polymorph minerals, raw materials, Bukit Bunuh

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7186/wg461202002