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Jakarta Post

Dutch fortress foundations found in Kota Lama area

  • Ainur Rohmah and Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang   /   Fri, September 12, 2014   /  11:05 am

After a four-day excavation in Kota Lama (Old City), Semarang, Central Java, a team of archeologists from Yogyakarta unearthed the foundations of a fortress on Tuesday, which was said to have stood in the area during the Dutch colonial era.

The fortress was thought to have been built in the 1750s to provide an exclusive residential area for the Dutch living in the region before they expanded the area and flattened the fortress in 1824.

Team leader Novida Abbas said the foundations were found in a vacant field belonging to state-owned transportation company Perum DAMRI and state-owned gas company PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), where the excavation activities had been focused.

'€œThe foundation was found 60 centimeters under the ground,'€ Novida added in Semarang on Wednesday.

The finding, she explained, gave a clue to the location of one of the fortress'€™ bastions, named Bastion de Smith.

The archaeological team had apparently anticipated this discovery since it had started the excavation in 2009.

The fortress also has another five bastions, namely Bastion de Zee, Bastion de Hersteller, Bastion Amsterdam, Bastion Ijzer and Bastion Ceylon.

However, the five bastions were said to be located under permanent buildings such as a warehouse, a car dealership, a city park and a bus terminal.

Novida said her team members were determined to locate Bastion de Smith before the end of this year'€™s excavation, which would fall on Saturday.

The story of the exclusive community inside the fortress that separated the Dutch from local residents can be traced back to the history of a conflict between the Mataram Kingdom and Trunajaya.

Joko Pramono of the Central Java Education and Culture Agency'€™s historic and prehistorical division, said he had not been aware of the existence of a fortress in Kota Lama before the archeological team excavated the site.

He said the finding would add to the historical value of Kota Lama, which could attract more people to the area known as the '€œLittle Netherlands'€.

During the excavation, the team also found hundreds of ancient ceramic fragments said to be from the 18th century.

'€œWe have identified 50 of 200 ceramic fragments that we have found. They might be fragments of jars, glasses and bowls from the Qing Dynasty and from Europe,'€ Novida said.

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