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What will Exploring Gunung Padang Cost the Nation?
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's special staffer Andi Arief is very ambitious about conducting more research in the Gunung Padang site of West Java. He is certain that there is some kind of pyramid existent beneath Mount Padang, Cianjur, West Java. The project is worth billions of rupiahs. That is what Tempo magazine reveals in its edition dated August 27, 2012, entitled "Finding Light in Gunung Padang". In the report, Andi Arief is accused of being an attention-seeker, motivated by money. He denies those accusations. To the point of conducting sample tests alone, the research has cost about Rp360 million only. The money comes from the pockets of each member of the team. "Some say up to Rp4 billion. Goodness, my office budget totals only Rp1.5 billion a year," said Andi. Geologist Andang Bahtiar claims he is not paid for drilling and provides his own tools. He even spent Rp60 million for the cost of the test samples in the National Nuclear Energy Agency and for the plane fare to visit some faults in Aceh, Lombok, and Jambi. "The research on Gunung Padang is just a hobby," said Danny Hilman, a volcano expert who is also involved in the exploration. The study met with much opposition from senior archaeologists, such as Mundardjito, professor of archeology, University of Indonesia. They criticize the Integrated Teamís method that emphasizes more on assumptions and results than processes. Mundardjito refers to them as a group of antiquarian scientists or researchers who do not heed process. In archeology, Mundardjito says, a study is not merely to find objects of cultural heritage, but also to find intangible information in the surrounding areas in order to get at a comprehensive story unit about the ancient object. "The creed of an archaeologist is seeing is believing, not assumptions," he said. Andi has further assumptions. He is guessing that at the bottom of the hill that is 894 meters above sea level there is a "metal element". After a scan by the team composing of young archaeologist and geologist that Andi Ariefís formed, it is is suspected that there is metal at the center of the mountain. The earth radar captures objects that come under the category of electricity conductors. According to the 1998 student activist who was once kidnapped by soldiers, the metal which may be gold is stored in a relic shrine in Sundanese civilization of 10,900 years ago. If true, he said, "It can be used by the state as a natural resource." BAGJA HIDAYAT | UNTUNG WIDYANTO

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