Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tang Dynasty Pottery and Persian Glassware Found in Central Java

More evidence of the broad trade connections that existed during the 9th century CE in the rest of the world while Europe was going through its 'Dark Age.'

Story at
Chinese Ancient Earthenware Found in Dieng
The discovery may reveal the economic situation in the Old Mataram kingdom.
Senin, 14 Juni 2010, 10:32 WIBArfi Bambani Amri

VIVAnews - A student from the Department of Archaeology of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, discovered ancient items in the Dieng Temple complex situated between Banjarnegara and Wonosobo, Central Java. The items found during a research conducted on June 2-11, 2010, are considered earthenware produced by Chinese Dinasty of Tang around 9th century and Persian broken glasses.

The discovery completes historical evidences illustrating the connection between the Old Mataram kingdom and China as well as the Middle East through trade routes.

This has been the first and important discovery which may reveal the economic situation in the Old Mataram kingdom.

"We're doing excavation and identification in two spots inside the Dieng Temple complex," said Chief of the research team, Dr Mahirta, on June 12.

"The excavation takes place on the surface of incorrupt soil. Through the excavation, we found some ancient goods such fragments of eartenware similar to those discovered on a shipwreck in Belitung, pieces of grinded earthenware shaped into coins, Persian ancient glasses, and charcoal, which can be used to date back historical items."

Dozens of brown and yellow earthenware, said Mahirta, were made in the center of earthenware products in North China during the era of Tang Dinasty.

Meanwhile, based on the analysis over the ancient glasses, it is concluded that the goods were originated from Persia, referring to their particular colors of blue and green. The broken glasses are among other findings considered the oldest. "The findings prove that Middle East trade routes in the ninth century passed by silk road starting from India, Strait of Malacca, eastern coast of Sumatra, northern coast of Java and Maluku. At that time of years, the merchants bought spices from Indonesia," he said.

Meanwhile, an archaeologist from the National University of Singapore, Prof John Norman Miksick, explained that the data recording the overland trade routes of the ninth century is still rare. "It is only within these last 15 years that new historical evidences have been found on the land, one of which is from Dieng," he said.

According to Miksick, the efforts to discover historical evidences, concerning especially with earthenware produced in the Tang Dinasty, have been conducted through various excavations. However, accurate data has been difficult to be recorded because researchers are busy focusing on the excavations of other sites.

Dieng plateu, according to Head of the Department of Archaeology of Gadjah Mada University, Prof Inayati Adrisiyanti, is only known as home for temples. However, the findings emphasized the economic activities of the locals in the ninth century.
Translated by: Bonardo Maulana W

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