Bali sarcophagus site of 'low archaeological significance'

That can’t be right, right? That an area where two stone sarcophagi, possibly dating 2,000 years (see here and here), be considered to be of “low archaeological significance”? That’s what the head of the Bali Archaeology Agency says. Others, including university and museum staff disagree about the significance of the find but at the end of the day, it’s the lack of funding that’s tying everybody’s hands.

Bali’s ancient history at 10 cents a brick
Jakarta Post, 05 February 2009

Discussing the discovery of the skull and bones, Rochtri is adamant.

“This is not right. Everything found on the site needs to be documented and protected,” he says, stressing the urgent need for the Keramas site to be secured for archeological investigation.

However, Rochtri’s hands are tied through a lack of funding, as are those of the Bali Archeology Agency.

“Udayana University has no government funding for research. If funding comes up, it will be too late,” he says.

Without research, no one will ever know how old these sarcophagi are, how large the ancient village was and for how many centuries people lived and worked in this area. This knowledge will instead be baked into bricks sold at 10 cents apiece.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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