Indonesian archaeologists survey Riau Islands waters

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Underwater excavation at Pulai Buton, Natuna, Riau Province. Source: Kompas 20150503

Indonesian archaeologists survey the waters of the Riau Islands province, finding a number of shipwrecks beneath the waters.

Underwater excavation at Pulai Buton, Natuna, Riau Province. Source: Kompas 20150503

Underwater excavation at Pulai Buton, Natuna, Riau Province. Source: Kompas 20150503

Arkeolog Teliti Temuan Artefak Kapal Kuno di Natuna
Kompas, 03 May 2015
Article is in Bahasa Indonesia

Lima artefak kapal dari abad ke-10 hingga ke-19 Masehi ditemukan di wilayah perairan Kepulauan Natuna, Kepulauan Riau. Temuan tersebut menguatkan bahwa Natuna merupakan titik penting dalam jalur pelayaran perdagangan internasional yang menghubungkan Tiongkok dengan kawasan Asia Tenggara.

Selama dua pekan, 14-25 April 2015, lima penyelam dari Pusat Arkeologi Nasional menyelami tiga lokasi di wilayah Laut Tiongkok Selatan. Ada tiga lokasi yang menjadi target utama penyelaman, yaitu Pulau Buton, Pulau Laut, dan Karang Antik. Namun, para peneliti hanya berhasil memetakan temuan di Buton dan Karang Antik.

“Kondisi arus sedang deras saat kami berada di Pulau Laut,” ujar Priyatno Hadi, peneliti madya di Pusat Arkeologi Nasional, Kamis (22/4/2015). Pulau Laut ini merupakan wilayah terluar batas geografis Indonesia dengan Laut Tiongkok Selatan. Para peneliti belum mengetahui apakah artefak kapal karam itu berteknologi kapal Asia Tenggara atau Tiongkok.

Full story here.

Indonesian shipwreck trove to be auctioned

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Ming Dynasty jarlet from a shipwreck in the Riau Islands. Source: Detik 20150216

The contents of a shipwreck found in the waters of the Riau Islands will be split between museums in Indonesia and sold to the domestic market. This might be an interesting case to follow as an alternative way to balance the illicit salvage of underwater cultural properties against state intervention and public partnership. The finds from the ship date to the Ming Dynasty, but I am unable to determine much from the archaeology of the ship as the article is in Bahasa Indonesia. (Thanks to Shu from the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre for the heads up).

Ming Dynasty jarlet from a shipwreck in the Riau Islands. Source: Detik 20150216

Ming Dynasty jarlet from a shipwreck in the Riau Islands. Source: Detik 20150216

Harta Karun Kapal Dinasti Ming di Batam akan Dilelang
Detik.com, 16 February 2015

Pemerintah akan mengangkat kapal karam dari Dinasti Ming bermuatan aneka harta di Perairan Bintan, Batam, Kepulauan Riau. Bagaimana nasib harta karunnya nanti?

Kasubid Pendayagunaan Sumber Daya Kelautan KP3K Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan (KKP), Rusman Hariyanto mengatakan, usai kapal diangkat proses selanjutnya adalah pengumpulan Benda Muat Kapal Tenggelam (BMKT) dan ditempatkan sementara di salah satu gudang penyimpanan di Bintan.

Beberapa BMKT akan dipilih dan dibagikan ke beberapa museum sebagai sumber pengetahuan sejarah. Setelah itu, BMKT yang tersisa akan dilelang di pasar dalam negeri.

Full story here.

Are Malaysians buying up Indonesia's cultural heritage?

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A rather disturbing report of Malaysian scholars allegedly buying up ancient manuscripts from private owners in the Indonesian Riau Islands (south of Singapore) in a bid “to find proof of their Malay identity”. The idea of Malay identity and ethnicity is a touchy issue in Malaysia, due to affirmative action policies that accord privileges to the Malays over the other ethnicities that share the country. However, this article should be seen in the light of relations between Indonesia and Malaysia, which are not at an all-time high at the moment. A few years ago, Indonesia accused Malaysia of using a traditional Indonesian song to promote Malaysian tourism. The most recent chilling of relations involves Indonesia freeze of domestic helpers working in Malaysia because of recent cases of abuse that has come to light. The reason I’m featuring this story is because, hey, it’s about ancient manuscripts (although most aren’t more than 200 years old so it can’t be that ancient) and it highlights a recurring theme in Indonesia that the government doesn’t have the will or the resources to take care of its own heritage, but are looking to blame Malaysia for buying up what little they have.

M`sians take ancient Malay manuscripts from Riau islands
Antara, 03 June 2009
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