Guest Post – The Home of Java Man, Sangiran-Indonesia

This article below is written by a guest author, Ferdias Bookelmann from Ferdy Bookelmann | My Life, My Love & My Dream for The World. Thank you, Mbakyu! I really appreciate your time and effort!

Last holiday we went to visit Sangiran museum on the way from Jogyakarta airport to my home town in Semarang.

Inspired by the Ice Age movie, we fulfilled our curiosity by visiting this amazing prehistoric museum.

Although the tag is “The Home of Java Man”, in fact this museum is the home of the biggest hominid collection from all over the world and also shows a lot of mega fauna fossils they found in some areas in Java.

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The museum is divided by 3 sections. Section 1 presents mega fauna and hominids found around Sangiran, section 2 presents hominids and mega fauna from all over the world, section 3 presents the latest found and identified hominids and their way of living.

Before we entered the first section, we watched a movie about Sangiran. It was a story of how this area became rich fossil sites and a heaven for archaeology. Really good movie although it was a bit boring for my lil Ivo 😦

As we entered the museum, Ivo looked very happy as he saw many interesting things. Fortunately my husband was very patient to explain everything to Ivo.

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The first part of this section showed the history of the earth from Pangea to the present form, the Mendel theory, Darwin evolution theory, Sangiran geological plates, etc. All of these complicated theories were presented in such a way that a child like Ivo could easily understand.

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The next part showed Mega Fauna fossils. Ivo was really amazed with the remains of some species of ancient elephants. Some looked like mammoth without fur, others were even stranger with the tusks facing the other way. Ivo tried to imagine how big the ancient elephants were by comparing his hand with the fossils.

There were some mega reptiles which already existed since the dinosaur periods and also some primitive animals had lived before dinosaur times.

The most interesting fact  was that they found 2 different sub-species of hippopotamus fossils in Sangiran. There were also the fossils of bulls with giant horns, which reminded us of Watusi that lived in Africa. Ivo asked me “Mom, do you think Java and Africa was one big land a long time ago???”  Wohoho …. I don’t know dear …. Mr. Google please help me…… 😛

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The last part of this section showed 3 different sub-species of Homo Erectus found in Sangiran sites. These 3 hominids lived in different periods, their brain volume was also different and so was their way of living. This time I asked myself if this fact explained the evolution of java hominid??? Maybe yes, maybe not …… 🙂

Leaving the first section of the museum, we walked through a pathway decorated with beautiful bronze reliefs all the way to the entrance of the second section. The reliefs told a story about how the java hominid lived.

Entering the second section, there was a big movie screen showing a program about how the universe was born from the big bang to the present. We didn’t really follow the whole program as time was not on our side.

This section was actually the most interesting one as they showed hominids from other countries such as Australopithecus, Homo Neanderthal and Homo Habilis.  There were also mega fauna  fossils and diorama from the ice age (pleistocene) such as sabertooth tiger, hyena and rhino.

Ivo enjoyed this section very much, he tried to mimic and copy how they hunted, made fire and worked with their stone tools.

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In this section there was  also a brief archaeological excavation history from early explorers such as E. Dubois and G.H.R Von Koenigswald. There was a man size diorama about the archaeological activities from excavating until remodelling fossils.

Ivo was very excited and he said “Mom, I want to be Indiana Jones, just like them” ….. 😀 … Oooo dear, they are called archaeologists, not Mr. Jones …… 🙂

Finally we came to the last section, this section was dedicated for the latest discovery of a hominid from Liang Bua Cave called Homo Floriensis. Unlike other hominids, Homo Floriensis were rather tiny with long arms and short legs. They also had soft fur all over their body. They were dubbed as the Hobbits, after the tiny creatures from the Lord of the Rings books.

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Not only Ivo but all of us were also happy after visiting this museum which upgraded our knowledge about the prehistoric times. People say that this is the best hominid museum in the world after all ….

Before leaving this museum we bought a Sangiran history book, t-shirts and some handicrafts in the handicraft market next to the museum. The price is very reasonable and you can only find this kind of handycrafts, in Sangiran.

The museum is definitely worth visiting as the ticket is unbelievable cheap, only Rp. 5.000,- or USD 45 cent (!) per person.

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