Indonesia culture minister issues apology for destruction of Majapahit remains

The Indonesian minister for culture and tourism issues a public apology for the government’s role in destroying the buried features of the Majapahit buildings in Trowulan, East Java (see here and here). Against the advice of archaeologists and local groups, the government began construction of a ‘Majapahit Information Centre’, driving concrete pillars into the ground and destroying sections of ancient structures buried underground.

Indonesian minister of culture’s public apology for destruction of archaeological site
The Art Newspaper, 15 April 2009

The Indonesian minister for culture and tourism was forced to make a public apology after the government ignored urgent warnings and failed to halt a controversial new museum and visitor centre in Mojokerto, East Java, which caused extensive damage to important archaeological remains at Trowulan. The site is the capital of the Majapahit kings, Hindu rulers of the largest empire ever established in Southeast Asia.

Ancient walls, figures and other artefacts are reported to have been damaged after 60 concrete pylons were driven into the ground and trenches were dug and filled with concrete to act as foundations for the 25bn rupee ($2.1m) Majapahit Information Centre or Pusat Informasi Majapahit which, to the consternation of archaeologists, was to be constructed on top of a ritual complex. Located within Majapahit Park, the centre was to be an archaeological museum based on models such as the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang in China with glass floors and walkways so visitors could see the excavations below. According to Baskoro Tedjo, the architect commissioned to prepare an alternate design for the centre, the concept was born of contingency since the government could not afford to buy an alternate site.


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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.

1 thought on “Indonesia culture minister issues apology for destruction of Majapahit remains”

  1. Indonesia is a beautiful country,,
    culturally diverse and friendly population.
    complete article.
    Indonesia Islamic kingdom.
    a lot of history Indonesia.

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