Studies of fossil teeth reveal another Pleistocene ape species from Southeast Asia

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Comparison of a lower jaw fragment of Meganthropus with an Orangutan jaw and a reconstructed jaw of Homo erectus. Source: Senckenberg via Phys.org, 20190409
Comparison of a lower jaw fragment of Meganthropus with an Orangutan jaw and a reconstructed jaw of Homo erectus. Source: Senckenberg via Phys.org, 20190409
Comparison of a lower jaw fragment of Meganthropus with an Orangutan jaw and a reconstructed jaw of Homo erectus. Source: Senckenberg via Phys.org, 20190409

via Phys.org, 09 April 2019: Another ancient hominid species was discovered in Indonesia earlier this month, described in another paper in Nature – ‘Evidence for increased hominid diversity in the Early to Middle Pleistocene of Indonesia‘.

Together with an international team, Senckenberg scientists were able to document an additional fossil ape species in the Senckenberg hominid collection. The new species had already been described in 1950 as Meganthropus palaeojavanicus by Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald, the founder of Senckenberg’s paleoanthropological department, but at the time it was interpreted as a prehistoric human. Examinations of the anatomical dental structures now reveal that approximately one million years ago at least three additional species of hominids shared the habitat of Homo erectus on Java. The study is published today in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

More than 200 fossil teeth and jaw fragments have been discovered on the Indonesian island of Java to date. The majority of these hominid remains can be attributed to the extinct species Homo erectus, the first early human discovered outside of Europe. It is known that Homo erectus lived on Java during the time of the Pleistocene, approximately one million years ago, in the company of the ancestors of the modern-day Orangutans,” explains PD Dr. Ottmar Kullmer of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, and he continues, “We were now able to show that yet another species of ape existed there at the same time.”

Source: Studies of fossil teeth reveal another Pleistocene ape species from Southeast Asia

Batujaya Temple complex listed as national cultural heritage

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Candi Batujaya. Stock photo from Erick Doorka Purba / Shutterstock
Candi Batujaya. Stock photo from Erick Doorka Purba / Shutterstock
Candi Batujaya. Stock photo from Erick Doorka Purba / Shutterstock

via Jakarta Post, 08 April 2019:

The Education and Culture Ministry has named Batujaya Temple complex in Karawang regency, West Java, an item of national cultural heritage. The government will now make an effort to better publicize the complex.

The declaration is stated in Education and Culture Ministerial Decree No.70/2019, signed by the minister, Muhadjir Effendy, on March. 11 in Jakarta.

“We just received the letter, and we will inform the public shortly,” Firman Sofyan, head of culture at the Karawang Tourism and Culture Agency said on Thursday as quoted by Tempo.co.

Prior to getting the recognition archaeologists carried out research at Batujaya Temple.

Source: Batujaya Temple complex listed as national cultural heritage – Art & Culture – The Jakarta Post

Sambut Hardiknas, Balai Arkeologi Papua akan putar film Situs Tutari

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Source: Jubi, 20190405
Source: Jubi, 20190405
Source: Jubi, 20190405

via Jubi, 05 Apr 2019: The Papua archaeology Center will host a film screening and activities directed at teachers to share information about the Tutari megalithic site. Article is in Bahasa Indonesia.

Dalam rangka memperingati dan memeriahkan Hari Pendidikan Nasional 2019, Balai Arkeologi Papua rencananya akan mengadakan pemutaran film Situs Megalitik Tutari, serta Sosialisasi Rumah Peradaban Situs Megalitik Tutari, pada pertengahan April 2019 mendatang.

Rencananya, dalam kegiatan tersebut akan diundang 50 orang guru dari jenjang pendidikan SD, SMP, SMA di Kabupaten Jayapura dan Kota Jayapura.

Source: Sambut Hardiknas, Balai Arkeologi Papua akan putar film Situs Tutari – JUBI

Categories: Indonesia Megaliths

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Baby sharks found in Sentani after deadly flood

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Sharks in Lake Sentani. Source: Jakarta Post, 20190319
Sharks in Lake Sentani. Source: Jakarta Post, 20190319
Sharks in Lake Sentani. Source: Jakarta Post, 20190319

via Jakarta Post, 19 Mar 2019: The headline doesn’t sound very archaeological, but the underlying story reveals a changing landscape over geological time which have led sharks to adapt to a freshwater environment.

Sentani is located about 36 kilometers from downtown Jayapura. Iconic Lake Sentani, the largest lake in Papua, is located at an altitude of 75 meters above sea level.

A researcher from the Papua Archaeological Center, Hari Suroto, said in the past the lake formed part of the sea but had moved inland over the centuries, therefore there were records that showed sharks had lived in its waters.

“This part of the sea is connected to rivers and springs on the Cycloops mountain,” he said on Tuesday as quoted by antaranews.com.

The movement of the earth’s layers, Hari added, had changed Lake Sentani into a fresh water body.

Source: Baby sharks found in Sentani after deadly flood – National – The Jakarta Post

Categories: Indonesia

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Banjir Sentani Tenggelamkan Warisan Megalitik

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Floods in the Lake Sentani region, Papua. Source: Papua Bisnis, 20190321
Floods in the Lake Sentani region, Papua. Source: Papua Bisnis, 20190321
Floods in the Lake Sentani region, Papua. Source: Papua Bisnis, 20190321

via Papua Bisnis.com, 21 Mar 2019: Floods in Lake Sentani have also drowned out some megalithic sites in Papua. Article is in Bahasa Indonesia.

Banjir yang melanda Sentani membuat air Danau Sentani meluap,selain merendam permukiman penduduk, juga menenggelamkan tinggalan megalitik berupa papan batu di Situs Tanjung Warakho, Kampung Doyo Lama, Distrik Waibu, Kabupaten Jayapura, Papua.

Demikian disampaikan Peneliti dari Balai Arkeologi Papua Hari Suroto kepada Antara di Jayapura, Kamis (21/3/2019). Menurut dia, Banjir yang melanda Sentani membuat air Danau Sentani meluap.

Selain merendam permukiman penduduk, kata Hari, ternyata luapan air ini juga menenggelamkan tinggalan megalitik berupa papan batu di Situs Tanjung Warakho, Kampung Doyo Lama, Distrik Waibu, Kabupaten Jayapura.

Source: Banjir Sentani Tenggelamkan Warisan Megalitik

Toll road construction hits archaeological sites in East Java

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Bajang Ratu gate in Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java. Stock photos from Shutterstock / Indonesiapix
Bajang Ratu gate in Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java. Stock photos from Shutterstock / Indonesiapix
Bajang Ratu gate in Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java. Stock photos from Shutterstock / Indonesiapix

via Jakarta Post, 16 March 2019:

A site thought to be from the Majapahit Kingdom has been found in Sekarpuro subdistrict, Malang regency, East Java, during the development of section V of the Malang-Pandaan toll road project.

The discovery has put the construction on hold, according to the president director of state-owned toll road operator PT Jasa Marga Pandaan-Malang, Agus Purnomo.

“We are waiting for the result of the study conducted by the Cultural Heritage Preservation Center [BPCB] and will coordinate with the BPCB in Trowulan [East Java] regarding the finding,” Agus said on Sunday.

The finding was a brick structure resembling stairs and bricks scattered on the site of the toll road construction. Each of the bricks is about 45 x 60 centimeters wide with a thickness of 7 cm.

Source: Toll road construction hits archaeological sites in East Java – National – The Jakarta Post

Categories: Indonesia

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Yuan Dynasty ceramics found in East Java

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Yuan Dynasty ceramics in Java. Source: Pontianak Post, 20190315
Yuan Dynasty ceramics in Java. Source: Pontianak Post, 20190315
Yuan Dynasty ceramics in Java. Source: Pontianak Post, 20190315

via Pontianak Post, 15 Mar 2019: Yuan Dynasty ceramics found in East Java. Article is in Bahasa Indonesia.

Penyerangan tentara Tar Tar dipimpin Kubilai Khan, ke Singhasari atau Singosari, Jawa Timur, pada abad ke-13 bisa ditemukan jejaknya di Pulau Serutu dan Pulau Karimata, Kabupaten Kayong Utara. Bukti kuat mereka pernah singgah ini, ada pada prasasti batu yang terdapat di Pasir Kapal dan Pasir Cina Dusun Serutu.

Batu yang bertuliskan huruf cina, berhasil diterjemahkan Peneliti Balai Arkeologi Banjarmasin Imam Hindarto. Menurutnya, untuk meneliti tulisan tersebut dia meminta bantuan temannya yang kuliah di Prancis. “Banyak tulisannya yang sudah usang dan tidak terbaca, namun ada tulisan yang sangat jelas di batu tersebut yang sangat besar yakni menyebutkan negara Yuan,” jelasnya Kamis (14/3).

Source: Jejak Kubilai Khan Diteliti | Pontianak Post

Categories: Ceramics Indonesia

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X-Ray “Gun” Identifies A Shipwreck’s 800-Year-Old Knockoff Ceramics

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Qingbai Museum from the Java Sea Wreck at the Field Museum. Source: PBS, 20190209
Qingbai Museum from the Java Sea Wreck at the Field Museum. Source: PBS, 20190209
Qingbai Museum from the Java Sea Wreck at the Field Museum. Source: PBS, 20190209

via PBS.org, 09 Feb 2019: Based on a recently-published paper in Journal of Archaeological Science, an analysis of ceramics from the Java Sea wreck reveals that the prized Qingbai ceramics were produced in four kilns across China, some high-quality, while others mass-produced ‘counterfeits’ to meet rising demands.

In a study published today in the Journal of Archaeological Science, a team of scientists pinpoints the origins of several of the Chinese ceramics on board. The chemical composition of the ship’s glazed, bluish-white qingbai wares shows they were forged at four different kiln sites across China—and while some were high-quality, luxury items destined for the social elite, others appear to be more akin to counterfeits, likely mass produced to meet rising demand in markets abroad.

“I think these are brilliant results,” says Elisabeth Holmqvist, an archaeologist and material scientist at the University of Helsinki in Finland who was not involved in the study. “This is when geochemical data really becomes valuable for archaeological questions: It provides the evidence, and then we can go back to the socioeconomic context. That’s the greatest value in this kind of research.”

Sourcing qingbai porcelains from the Java Sea Shipwreck: Compositional analysis using portable XRF
Xu et al, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2018.12.010

This paper evaluates the use of portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) on glazes and pastes for sourcing Chinese porcelains from the 12th-13th century Java Sea Shipwreck (JSW) collection at the Field Museum. Three types of qingbai (bluish-white) wares from the JSW collection were chosen for pXRF analysis. Samples from four kiln complexes in China—Jingdezhen, Dehua, Huajiashan, and Minqing, hypothesized to be potential sources of the shipwreck’s qingbai ceramics based on visual inspection—were also analyzed to establish reference groups. Results from kiln samples show that different kiln complexes can be clearly differentiated by pXRF analysis of glazes. Based on pXRF analysis of ceramic samples from the JSW, there appear to be four compositional groups, and each group closely matches one of the four kiln reference groups. These findings support the use of pXRF on glazes, especially when pastes are difficult to access, as a method for identifying the potential sources for overseas cargos found distant from production contexts for Chinese porcelains.

Source: X-Ray “Gun” Identifies A Shipwreck’s 800-Year-Old Knockoff Ceramics | NOVA | PBS | NOVA | PBS

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Revisiting Raffles exhibition reveals what an ignoramus Raffles really was

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The guardian Mahakala as depicted in The History of Java, and in actuality. Source: SG Magazine, 20190207
The guardian Mahakala as depicted in The History of Java, and in actuality. Source: SG Magazine, 20190207

via SG Magazine, 07 Feb 2019: A review of the Raffles in Southeast Asia exhibition currently at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore until 28 April. You can check out my review here.

Curated in collaboration with the British Museum in London, the exhibition consists mostly of Javanese and Sumatran objects Raffles personally collected, employing him as a frame to explore the encounter between the British, Dutch, Javanese, and Malay peoples here in the Malay Archipelago. It grounds notions of the colonial ruler as a collector of natural history and culture from Southeast Asia, before subverting them with new possibilities—that he was exploitative, wrongfully pompous; even a plagiariser.

Source: Revisiting Raffles exhibition reveals what an ignoramus Raffles really was | SG Magazine Online