Racing against time to clean up Borobudur

Authorities make the best with what they have in the cleanup of Borobudur from corrosive volcanic ash and the race to have everything open for the tourist season.

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Indonesia’s Borobudur Rising From the Ashes
Jakarta Globe, 21 November 2010

The major eruption of Mount Merapi on Nov. 5, which blanketed surrounding areas in volcanic ash, poses a serious and ongoing threat to ancient temple complexes such as Borobudur.

Officials are concerned the acidic soot will hasten the wearing of the temples, Borobudur in particular, which is covered in up to 3 centimeters of ash.

The site was closed to the public after the eruptions began on Oct. 26, while the government has sent workers in to clean up the temple complex.

“Since Nov. 11, we’ve taken emergency action to keep Borobudur clear of ash by cleaning up 72 stupas and the main stupa, and wrapping them in plastic,” Junus Satrio Atmojo, the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s head of historical and archeological sites, said Saturday.

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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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