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The Ancient Wonders Of Indonesia

Hidden behind the breathtaking landscape of forests, rice fields, and mountains are intriguing tales of extraordinary archaeological finds scattered throughout Indonesia's enchanting islands. These finds are shrouded in mystery, causing ongoing fascination and debate among historians and archaeologists.

Indonesia, located in Southeast Asia and Oceania, proudly boasts over 17,000 stunning islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and portions of Borneo and New Guinea, between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Indonesia has a rich and fascinating history dating back nearly 2 million years. In 1891, a team of excavators led by Eugene Dubois made a remarkable discovery in Java. They found the oldest hominid fossil that linked man and ape, which is believed to be between 700,000 and 1,490,000 years old. This fossil was affectionately named 'Java Man' and was the oldest hominid fossil ever discovered at that time.

Java is a fascinating island that proudly displays its rich cultural and historical heritage, providing evidence of the incredible achievements of human creativity and spirituality. It is home to numerous ancient sites and temples that have stood the test of time. These temples and sites were heavily influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism between the 8th and 10th centuries CE and are simply astounding.

Borobudur Temple, Watu Palindo Statue, Prambanan Temple

The sites and temples in Java are famous for their intricate carvings, architecture and beautiful landscapes. One of the most famous sites is the Borobudur Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. The temple has over 2,000 bas-relief sculptures and 500 Buddha statues.

Another wonderful site is The Prambanan Temple, an architectural masterpiece that leaves visitors in awe. This complex of Hindu temples is dedicated to the Trimurti - the three main gods in Hinduism and boasts towering spires and intricate carvings that are nothing short of breathtaking.

The island of Sumatra, the 6th largest island in the world, and known as the Island of Gold due to the gold deposits found in the island's highlands, is also steeped in history, particularly that of Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world. The lake was formed 74,000 years ago after an enormous volcanic eruption.

This magnificent lake has been protected for centuries by Princess Pusuk Buhit, who, according to mythological tales, transformed into a golden fish to protect this natural wonder.

Sumatra is also home to the Batak tribe, an ancient and skilled community known for their impressive art and architecture.

Sulawesi, another stunning island of Indonesia, is home to exceptional archaeological findings, such as ancient stone tools dating from 100,000 to over 200,000 years ago. These artefacts represent the earliest evidence of human existence in the region, and their discovery sheds new light on the island's history.

Radiocarbon dating of rock shelters in the town of Maros has also provided strong evidence of human settlement in the area around 30,000 BC. Researchers also claim Sulawesi almost certainly formed a part of the land bridge used for settlements of Australia and New Guinea around 40,000 BC.

The archaeological finds in Indonesia are mind-blowing. In 2015, the remains of a young woman aged between 17 and 18 years inside the Leang Panninge Cave were discovered. Archaeologists named the woman Besse. After conducting a DNA analysis, it was determined that Besse lived slightly over 7,000 years ago and was linked with the hunter-gatherer Toalean culture.

Lake Toba, Megalithic Statues in Lore Lindu National Park, Terraced Rice Fields

Many historians and archaeologists have been astounded by the hundreds of megaliths around the Bada, Besoa and Napu Valley in the Lore Lindu National Park in central Sulawesi. The National Park is a glorious sight. An impressive 400 granite megaliths were discovered in 1908, dating from 3000 BC to AD 1300. These enormous megaliths weighing up to 80 tons each lay embedded in the mud and scattered like debris from what many believe to be the result of a cataclysmic event that once hit the planet.

Thirty human-form megaliths remain dotted around the three valleys, measuring 2 to 15 feet tall. All have identical round faces and circular eyes but no mouth. While looking at the many pictures of these statues, I noticed some features caught my attention. The noses and brow areas of a few of these statues, in particular, remind me of the distinctive head of an old toy robot, specifically C-3PO, the iconic humanoid robot character from the Star Wars franchise. However, when I look closer at the smaller statues, their nose and brow areas resemble the nose guard of a medieval knight's armour. All thirty have their arms resting around their naval area; some also have large genitalia carved onto this area, suggesting these statues once resembled life and fertility.

Some of these human-form megaliths stand in groups or pairs, yet some, like Watu Palindo, known as the wise man or the entertainer and Langke Bulawa, the sad-looking female, stand alone. Even though these megaliths have been standing for centuries, there is no concrete evidence regarding their origins and creation, leaving us with many unanswered questions, such as who built them and for what purpose? According to some researchers, a small amount of evidence suggests that megalithic structures are located on underground ley lines. Additionally, others have observed that the Watu Palindo statue sits facing towards the west, where the sun sets. This suggests that some of these structures may have been built to symbolize the cycle of death and rebirth. Were they used for religious ceremonies, as astronomical observatories, or for some other reason? We may never know.

Although many more wonderful Indonesian sites exist, I shall finish with the fascinating find of 27 Kalamabas, megalithic cylinder stone jars and lids in the Besoa Valley of Sulawesi. The one situated at the entrance of the valley is quite remarkable. It sits 4.70 meters tall and 1.87 meters wide with a strip of faces resembling various human-like statues mentioned above. Due to their sizeable hollow interior, some of these jars may have been specifically designed for bathing or storing large quantities of food. Others are not as deep and have a division in the centre, indicating they may have been used for a preparation area or the equivalent of what we know as a mortal and pestle to grind large quantities of herbs for cooking or medicinal benefits.

Many of these fascinating discoveries found in Indonesia have been hailed as groundbreaking, yet the mysteries regarding who and why many were built remain unsolved.

With the availability of advanced technology and equipment, it is hoped that future researchers and historians will be able to uncover the many mysteries surrounding the beautiful sites of Indonesia.

Love & Light



Indonesian Megaliths - A Forgotten Cultural Heritage by Tara Steimer-Herbet




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