The Jakarta Post
In an effort to educate the public about the impact of volcanic eruptions on the local environment, the government is planning to establish a study center for volcanology and archeology at the site of the centuries-old Kedulan temple in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta.
Yogyakarta Cultural Heritage Preservation Center's (BPCB) protection, development and exploitation head Wahyu Astuti said the establishment of the center would be started in 2019 after local authorities completed the restoration of the temple, which had been partly buried by volcanic materials from the eruptions of Mount Merapi, located 25 kilometers north of the temple.
'At the center, the public can learn that the eruptions of Mt. Merapi have impacted local societies for thousands of years,' Wahyu told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
The 144-square-meter Kedulan temple was built around the 9th century, accompanied by three perwara (companion temples) on its east side.
The Javanese-Hindu temple, located in Kalasan district, was buried under 15 layers of volcanic materials around 5.5 meters deep when it was discovered by a sand miner in 1993. The architect of the temple, however, remains unknown.
The establishment of a study center alongside the Kedulan temple, Wahyu continued, would help visitors learn about geology, culture and civil engineering at the same time.
'We will let one of the companion temples to remain as it is, so that visitors can see how a temple still buried by volcanic material looks,' she said, adding that the establishment of the center would be funded from the state budget.
The 2,980-meter-high Mt. Merapi is considered to be one of the world's most active volcanoes. The volcano erupted most recently in 2010, during which pyroclastic flows from the volcano killed 275 people, according to data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
According to Wahyu, many ancient temples in Yogyakarta used to be buried under volcanic materials.
Head of the Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG) in Yogyakarta, IGM Agung Nandaka, has also expressed his support for the establishment of the study center. 'People living around Mt. Merapi need to learn about the impacts of the volcano's eruptions, as it could happen again,' Agung said.
On Tuesday, a dozen of workers were seen excavating the eastern side of the Kedulan temple to look for the temple's barrier. Last month, at the same spot, the workers managed to unearth a sculpture of nandi, the sacred bull that carried the Hindu god Shiva.
Yogyakarta BPCB former official Hariyanto, who is serving as a consultant for the Kedulan temple excavation project, said there was a possibility that the temple had been abandoned before it had been covered by volcanic material.
'The temple's construction and its ground support are weak. There is possibility that the temple had already collapsed before it was buried under Mt. Merapi's volcanic material,' he said.