Excavation of 600-year-old artifacts halted due to financial woes
Denpasar Archaeology Agency has reluctantly halted the excavation of the ruins of a temple estimated to be 600-years-old unearthed in the backyard of Pasraman Hindu Learning Center on Jl. Trengguli in Penatih area, West Denpasar.
I Made Geria, head of the agency, lamented that the agency was currently conducting large-scale excavation projects in West and East Nusa Tenggara provinces.
“The agency has already proposed funding for the Penatih excavation from next year’s budget,” Geria said on Saturday.
Experts assume that the finding of the ancient site in Penatih was a major archaeological discovery for the region.
“This would be the biggest temple found in the Bali and Nusa Tenggara region. A number of experts and government officials will meet next week to discuss this finding,” Geria said.
The road to the discovery started in late September when five local workers were digging up soil to construct a water reservoir at the back of Pasraman Hindu Learning Center belonging to Ida Pasraman Ida Rsi Bhujangga Wisnawa Ganda Kusuma.
The five workers were startled when they found an old limestone block construction.
“It is estimated that the temple structures originate from the period between the 14th and 15th centuries. The Ubung and Tonya ancient inscriptions did not reveal anything about a temple in Penatih,” Geria said.
Experts predict that the finding is part of a larger temple complex in Penatih and the surrounding area.
The team of experts consists of 11 researchers, six technical staff and additional workers.
Geria said that the agency had closely coordinated with Denpasar mayoralty office, Udayana University and other related institutions.
“We have also consulted with the Center for Archaeological Preservation to further study the history and origins of the newly found site,” he said.
Up to last weekend, experts had unearthed 22 big pieces of limestone and parts of stone stairs from the temple.
Previously, the agency had also found a relatively similar type of temple in Gianyar, called Candi
Wawasan (Wawasan Temple).
Locals have used the site of Candi Wawasan to mine limestone.
“The Penatih site is considered to be one of the most spectacular archaeological findings in the last few decades,” he said.
But the unearthed stones could be the temple foundations, while the body structures had already been destroyed, he said.