News & events > Sarawak Museum gets funds to support zooarchaeology
07 Feb 2015

Sarawak Museum gets funds to support zooarchaeology

Sarawak Donation CranbrookOld_Sarawak_Museum According to information published by Malaysian newspaper The Star, the Sarawak Museum, an ASEMUS member, has received a RM 100,000 donation from biologist Datuk Seri Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, the Fifth Earl of Cranbrook. The monetary support is to enable the museum to train a zooarchaelogist. In a previous interview with The Star, Cranbrook had passionately spoken on his wish to promote zooarchaeology in Sarawak, seeing how many fossil specimens retrieved from Niah Cave have still not been properly sorted and studied. It is worth recalling that the Sarawak Museum will be undergoing major renovation which includes construction of a new storage and curation wing. As such, qualified curatorial staff will be needed in future. The RM100,000 is part of Cranbrook’s prize money of RM500,000 from the 2014 Merdeka Award for Outstanding Contribution to The People of Malaysia. Cranbrook received the accolade in December for his pioneering research on Malaysia’s biodiversity. “For (the museum) to retain its status as the repository of collection of animal remains, it is urgent to find trained zooarchaeologists or graduate biologists with aspirations in zooarchaeology. A concerted and coordinated effort can only ensure that the field of zooarchaeology is continuously maintained and supported. I hope that this pledge will be met by counterpart offers from public sector science grants and additional donations by private benefactors, including businesses and generous individuals,” says Cranbrook, who has been honorary curator of mammals of the museum since 1960. His long connection to the museum and the state goes back to 1956, when he was hired as technical assistant to the curator. His job included sorting out bird specimens as well as animal bones and remains collected from excavations. Between 2000 and 2004, Cranbrook was involved in archaeological digs in Niah Cave, which unearthed animal remains, evidence of past human diets, ancient tools and weapons. Unfortunately, no staff member was experienced enough to follow the project through. Pictured above: Datuk Seri Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, the Fifth Earl of Cranbrook (picture: Filepic); and the Sarawak Museum