A research team from the Palembang Archaeological Center in South Sumatra recently completed the excavation of historical sites from the Sriwijaya kingdom in Palembang, barely uncovering new remnants of the kingdom, which was at its peak between the 7th and 8th centuries.
Running from Nov. 25 until Dec. 1, the excavation took place at the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum compound in Bukit Siguntang and in Geding Suro, which was believed to have been a residential area during the Sriwijaya kingdom. About Sri Wijaya Kingdom
Palembang Archeological Center excavation team leader Budi Wiyana said he regretted the time constraint that had prevented the team discovering more.
“Our excavation only reached 1.8 meters deep because we were hindered by the time limitation and the rain. While we needed to dig 3 to 4 meters for research on Sriwijaya. This research should continue because we have not found significant data,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Friday.
During the excavation, the team discovered the remains of a stupa structure on the surface in Bukit Siguntang. They also discovered artifacts from the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate in the form of pottery, coins and animal bones.
The artifacts were estimated to date back to the 18th century, during the heyday of the Islamic kingdom. The team also found a brick arrangement resembling a building foundation, which, according to researchers, was part of the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate palace.
The palace was razed by the Dutch colonial administration, which occupied Palembang. Remnants of the palace include an ulin, or ironwood, timber beam that was part of the palace structure.
Budi said research on the Sriwijaya kingdom in Palembang had not been carried out for a long time due to limited funding. The South Sumatra provincial administration disbursed about Rp 200 million (US$16,262) for this year’s research, which also involved Palembang’s Raden Fatah State Islamic University students.
“The last research was conducted in 2006, and it could only resume this year,” Budi said, adding that he would report the excavation findings to governor Alex Noerdin.
He said he had sent four samples of wood and two of charcoal to the National Nuclear Energy Agency in Jakarta on Friday as his team did not have the proper equipment to analyze them.
South Sumatra provincial administration People’s Welfare Affairs assistant Akhmad Najib said the funds had just been a beginning and further funding would be provided to further excavate the remnants of the Sriwijaya kingdom.
“The Sriwijaya kingdom is a national asset which must be preserved and maintained as a national heritage, it is priceless for the present,” he said.
According to Budi, the research would not be limited to the heritage of the Sriwijaya kingdom as previously archeologists had also found remnants of a nipa palm fruit believed to date back 3,500 years.
“The Sriwijaya kingdom did not appear suddenly. There must be dynamics before it was founded,” said Budi.