Thursday, February 23, 2012

Relics of shipwreck found in Medan

Relics of shipwreck found in Medan
Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan | Fri, 02/24/2012 10:37 AM
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After almost a month of exploration, French archeologist Daniel Perret from Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient (EFEO) discovered a fragment from an ancient shipwreck and gold relics at the Kota Cina (Chinatown) site in Marelan district, Medan, North Sumatra.

The ancient relics, estimated to date back to between the 11th and 14th centuries, were discovered by Perret at the end of a series of studies at the site on Thursday.

Perret said the fragments were similar to discoveries made last year. He added that his team’s research this month was the second it had done at the Kota Cina site.

“This year’s discovery was the same as last year’s, thus strengthening the fact that the Kota Cina site was a merchant port on the eastern coast of Sumatra that once served as a trading network between the 11th and 14th centuries for traders from China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and India,” Perret said after wrapping up his research at the Kota Cina site on Thursday.

Perret added that various findings unearthed over the last two years could not be used to uncover the historical mystery of Kota Cina. He expressed hope that he could return to conduct research at Kota Cina so as to uncover its mystery.

“I hope to be back next year to do research at Kota Cina again for the third time. But, I fear it can no longer be done due to the many plots of land for housing which would restrict exploration,” said Perret, who was accompanied by a number of researchers from the Medan State University.

Medan State University Social Sciences and Historical Studies Center head Ichwan Azhari, who is also involved in the research at Kota Cina, said there were thousands of vital findings of artifacts from between the 11th and 14th centuries which they were able to collect during their research from Feb. 6-23. He added that the relics were found after excavating three plots of land, each measuring 4-by-5 meters.

Ichwan explained that a number of relics which they were able to collect from the site included fragments from an ancient ship, ceramics, old coins, beads, glass and gold. He said his center could not yet explain the findings, their origins and from which era they came from, the people’s race and motives as they must be further analyzed.

“The research will include carbon dating tests at a lab abroad to determine the exact age of the relics,”
Ichwan said.

Medan Mayor Rahudman Harahap, who witnessed the findings at the Kota Cina site, said he planned to initiate a program to acquire land around the exploration site and turn it into the Kota Cina archeological park which would be used for research, education and tourism.

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