Ancient Hindu Site Unearthed

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  • Prambanan temple, Sleman, Yogyakarta. TEMPO/Subekti

    Prambanan temple, Sleman, Yogyakarta. TEMPO/Subekti

    The Tinjon site at Sambirejo village in Prambanan, Sleman, has been excavated by the Yogyakarta Cultural Heritage Preservation Office. "This time we can call it a full-scale excavation," said Wahyu Astuti, head of the Preservation Office's Protection, Development and Utilization Section.

    The excavation took 10 days and ended on May 22, Wahyu said. It was not the first archaeological dig at this site, which was discovered during the Dutch colonial era. There was a minor excavation in 1989. "But that was only to find out where the corners were," Wahyu said, adding that excavation efforts would continue in October.

    Situated on a small hill covered in teak trees, the site is just one kilometer west of the Ijo Temple, which is located at Yogyakarta's highest point. The Preservation Office's excavation team worked with archeology students from Gadjah Mada University to unearth a temple measuring 30-by-30 meters.

    Wahyu said Tinjon had been constructed atop the Pegunungan Seribu highlands during the Hindu Mataram era between the 9th and 10th centuries. The site is part of a larger temple complex. Besides Ijo, there are also Boko and Prambanan temples, which form part of a row of Hindu-Buddhist constructions.

    The Preservation Office has yet to determine Tinjon's original form. "Now we are still excavating," Wahyu said. "In order to commence the restoration, a feasibility study needs to be carried out first."

    Like Ijo and other temples built on a plateau, Tinjon includes sloping stone walls which serve to protect against landslides.

    Ijo Temple's walls are now being restored. When Tempo visited the area, a group of people were cleaning stones and digging the grounds around the temple. The temple complex consists of one main temple and three smaller ones to the west.