It is not often archaeologists can announce they have discovered traces of a long civilization, but it happens occasionally.
When scientists during excavations found unique giant stones, it was soon obvious this discovery was the beginning of something much bigger…
These ancient meter-long stones, located in Penatih village, Denpasar are believed to be from a 14th century Hindu temple complex that may have been the
largest ever created on the Island of the Gods.
"I have become very interested in archeology since this was found, because we must know our history here in Bali. As a priest I need to know about this
history so I can teach people," said Bhujannga.
According to head of Bali's Archeology Unit, Made Geria this discovery is unique due to the scale of the stones used in the ancient temple's foundations
and their location.
"It is extremely rare to find a structure like this here - it is unique for Denpasar. The structure dates back to the Bali Kuno period, so it predates the
Majapahit period in Bali. Technologically it is also rare. Moving the stones into position means the traditional gotong royong [working together] must have
been used. Each stone needs six men to lift and move," says Geria via phone.
The extent of the site is still unknown. Current excavations show the Hindu temple extending around 100 meters running north-south. In one section alone are
dozens of the massive foundation stones intersected with the remains of thick red brick walls, similar to those seen in Java's Hindu temples that also date back
centuries, reports the Jakarta Post.
The discovery of the ruins was first reported to the archeology unit by Chandra Kirawan, who also lives within the compound where the huge foundations were found.
"This area was a rice field and we wanted to put in a septic tank and over the back a water tower. This was about three months ago. The workers hit the stones
when they were digging for the septic tank and they were shocked," says Chandra, adding he was curious what these giant stones could mean.
Balinese priest Ida Rsi Bhujannga has developed an interest in archeology with the unearthing of ancient ruins at his Denpasar home. Image credit: J.B. Djwan
"We all thought there were just a few stones and the workers thought they were lucky they had found something so they pulled up some of the stones.
Then we realized there were a lot of these big stones, so I immediately reported the find to the archeology department," says Chandra.
"Having this discovery on our property makes me feel really proud and happy, because it is not something you would ever expect. I have lived here all
my life and I never knew what history was under my feet. It was just a rice field," says Chandra, who with his family currently guards the ruins in
their backyard while welcoming visitors to the site.
t is believed there may be more ruins under Denpasar’s rice fields. Image credit: J.B. Djwan
"We have no stories, no histories of this temple and of its people. So our community was really surprised by this discovery.
The archeology department says
there may be much more still to be found under the rice fields here. They believe the section we have found is the eastern wall of the temple complex, it
was huge and the biggest ever found in Bali. What is clear I think is that at the time there must have been a civilization made up of many people, because a big
temple like this would have needed a lot of people to build it," says Bhujannga.
What other historical surprises remain hidden under Penatih's rice fields, what is yet to be uncovered and what learned of Bali's ancient history is still to
unfold, according to archeology head Geria."
Archaeology remains a fascinating subject that offers us many surprises...
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