The Archipelago

Plaosan temple: Excavation
halted as funds dry up

The Central Java Prehistoric Legacy Conservation Center (BP3) has been forced to stop excavation work on the third wall and trench that surround Plaosan Temple in Prambanan district, Klaten regency, Central Java, because it has run out of money.

Head of the center’s conservation and utilization section, Gutomo, said that the funds at its disposal had been allocated to restore the compound’s Perwara temples, which it expected to accomplish within seven months.

“Restoration is a routine activity and therefore must be prioritized,” Gutomo told The Jakarta Post, recently.

The fund for annual restoration work is apportioned from the state budget, while excavation funding is proposal-based and thus must be approved by the government.

A legacy from the 8th–9th centuries, Plaosan Temple is located in Bugisan subdistrict, about a kilometer to the northwest of the renowned Hindu Prambanan Temple. The search for the trench and the third wall was launched in 2005, but the structures were discovered only last year.

Excavation coordinator Kardoyo said that the center had only given his team two months until December last year to conduct the initial excavation work on the wall and the trench.

He said the excavation of the trench was for the most part complete, as all parts of the section had been uncovered. The wall, on the other hand, which is estimated to be 40 meters long, was still buried underground. Both the wall and trench are located in a field belonging to local residents.

Apart from the wall and the trench, there are also 13 other Perwara temples believed to still be buried under in the compound.

Gutomo said that it was necessary to acquire the land to facilitate the excavation process. Yet, as such an acquisition would require time and a large amount of money, the center had decided to rent the land from the locals for the next five years, during which it would complete the excavation work.

For security reasons, the excavation site has been fenced off. Gutomo said that the bamboo fence was all that was needed as it was unlikely that the wall stones, which had no ornamental features, would be stolen.

For the last three weeks, there has been restoration work in process at the number five and number six Perwara temples on the first row of the North Plaosan Temple, which has a mixed Hindu—Buddha architectural design.

Apart from the 21-meter-high main temple, the temple also has 248 smaller temples, each at least five meters tall, known as the Perwara temples, many of which have not yet been restored to their original shapes. There are also some stupas in the complex.

— JP/Kusumasari Ayuningtyas

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