The Jakarta Post
The National Archeological Excavation Center has found more evidence of the existence of the Sailendra civilization, believed to have prospered during the 7th century in Ngreco hamlet, Kesongo village, Tuntang district, Semarang regency, Central Java.
Previously, a team found pieces of bricks, artifacts and a jaladwara waterway segment, while recently it discovered a foundation believed to have been used for a temple structure.
A jaladwara was a water sewage system commonly found in bath houses during ancient times. The tip of the jaladwara is usually the shape of a dragon's head.
The finding is strengthened by the discovery of soil that is harder than that in other locations.
'However, the direction and land of the temple structure still remains unclear,' said National Archeological Excavation Center team leader Indrajaya Agustijanto on Tuesday.
Based on evidence, he said the structure's foundation was longer than 3.6 meters and was made of brick.
A joint team comprising archaeologists and experts from the National Archeological Center in Jakarta, Yogyakarta's Gadjah Mada University's (UGM) Archeological Center, Bandung Institute of Technology's (ITB) Geomorphology Department and the French Cultural Center in Jakarta, has been conducting an excavation in Ngreco hamlet for the past week to trace the remnants of the Buddhist Sailendra dynasty.
'The findings of the bricks, artifacts and jaladwara waterway system indicate civilization once existed in the area,' he said.
According to Indrajaya, the findings in Tuntang district are part of efforts to gather knowledge on culture during the Sailendra kingdom era.
The research took place in Tegal, Pekalongan, Batang and Semarang regencies.
'During a two-week exploration in the Gringsing area of Batang, archeologists found a waterway system and a passage to the Dieng plateau,' said Indrajaya.
The excavation in Tuntang stemmed from a discovery of a plaque located not far from the current excavation site.
The plaque, etched with the number '685' of the Saka era, or around the 7th century, showed the presence of an ancient civilization in Ngreco.
The team of archeologists then conducted further studies to make sure the artifacts in Ngreco dated back to the 7th century.
Despite that, said Indrajaya, his team did not want to be hasty in concluding the findings and would conduct further research.
He added the discovery of the jaladwara in Ngreco hamlet suggested the presence of a waterway.
By far the oldest known inscription is the Canggal plaque in Magelang, also in Central Java, dating back to 732 AD.
'When compared to the Canggal plaque in Magelang, the time span is between 20 and 40 years, so it can be said that the finding in Ngreco is quite old when associated with the Sailendra period,' Indrajaya
The Sailendra dynasty was founded in 752 AD by King Bhanu with the influence of the Buddha Mahayana. One of its greatest legacies is the Borobudur temple complex in Magelang.
The dynasty was successful in expanding its territory to Cambodia, but it collapsed in 850 AD.
Semarang regency Education and Culture Agency head Tri Subekso said he had informed residents and community leaders living around the excavation site to protect the site from irresponsible people.
'They [residents] have been very supportive [during the excavation process],' said Tri.