Prehistoric coffins discovered in Indonesia

By | May 20, 2010

An archeological team from the Denpasar Archeology Agency recently uncovered four ancient coffins estimated to be 20 centuries old in a brick plant in Bitera village in Gianyar regency.

One of the sarcophagi appeared to have been painted, indicating that it may have originated from the historic period, team head Ayu Kusumawati said Tuesday when the four archeologists conducted an excavation.

“The one that had been painted is probably from the historic era, while the others that have no color might be from the prehistoric age,” Ayu said, adding that the use of paint indicated that craftsmen creating the sarcophagus had carried out some improvements.

Sarcophagi were used during the megalithic period between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago to bury important people in the community or influential people, she said.

“But as we found the painted one here, it is possible that the method of using sarcophagi to store dead bodies continued until the following period.”

The ancient coffins, which were estimated to be 150 to 170 centimeters long and were found 75 centimeters underground, were first found by a plant worker last Thursday when digging to collect material to make bricks.

“The worker was unsure about digging deeper and he later informed me about what he had discovered, so we came here immediately to conduct further research,” Ayu told The Jakarta Post.

In November last year, the agency also found a sarcophagus in the area, along with ancient bronze jewelry, including a belt, bracelet, necklace and beads.

Since then, the archeologists have informed plant workers to notify the agency should they find any other historic objects.

Ayu said that two of the four trapezium-shaped sarcophagi were not whole, with the upper sections damaged by the works in the brick plant, while the two others still had the upper and lower sections.

She said the team had not found any skeletons, remains of the dead bodies or jewelry in the four sarcophagi.

The excavation is still ongoing and is targeted to be finished by Wednesday. Some parts of the sarcophagi were still to be unearthed. …

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