This piece from the Jakarta post reveals more about the poor management of archaeological heritage in Trowulan and the downward spiral that has led to last year’s protest over the Trowulan Information Centre. It’s interesting to note that while local superstition has been quite effective in keeping a number of locals from looting, Majapahit artefacts still turn up in local antique markets in Bali.
Losing Majapahit, piece by piece
13 March 2009
It was because the area attracted so many visitors that the government wanted to build the Majapahit Information Center, saying it would serve as an educational facility to introduce the Majapahit Kingdom to young people and to attract tourists. It was also expected to benefit the local people because there would be a handicraft center in the compound where they could sell products.
But the project was met with strong opposition from archaeologists from several universities across the country, as well as numerous culture lovers. The protesters argue that the development will damage the sites that are still buried. One art and culture appreciation group, Majapahit Gotrah Wilwatikta, said the development was planned for the very place believed to have been the residences of officials and ministers during the Majapahit era.
After a continuing barrage of protests, underscored by a demonstration by students of the Airlangga University in Surabaya and Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, the government delayed the project and started to look into possibilities for relocating the project.