Home Blogs Sangiran: Home of The “Java” Man
“Java Man”, otherwise known as pithecanthropus erectus, is believed
to be the original inhabitant of the Indonesian archipelago some 1.5
million years ago.
In 1890, Dutch military physician and paleoantrhopologist Eugene
Dubois first discovered a fossilized primate jawbone at Trinil near
Madiun, East Java, which possessed distinctly human characteristics.
Later local residents found similar fossils at Sangiran, Central Java.
The jawbone was found together with other fossilized mammals thought to
have been extinct hundred thousands of years ago.
Dubois was convinced that this was Darwin’s “missing link” in the
evolution of man. Today, scientists recognize that prehistoric “Java
Man” and the “Peking Man” are members of the species “Homo erectus”,
direct ancestors of modern homo sapiens and inhabited the earth between
1.7 million to 250,000 years ago. Scientists also report that 60
individuals have been found in the districts of Sragen and Karanganyar,
which together comprise more than 50% of such fossils found around the
Sangiran was recognized by UNESCO in 1996 as World Heritage Site,
next to Indonesia’s temples of Borobudur and Prambanan also located in
Because of its proximity to the city of Solo, taxis or cars may be
rented in Solo for the drive to the Sangiran museum.
What differentiates homo erectus from modern man is his thick, long
and low skull, and a massive face with strongly protruding brow ridges.
Today, the original discoveries are stored at the Bandung Geological
Museum, while replicas may be viewed at the Sangiran Museum.
Further research revealed that “Java man” lived in caves or in open
camps and was probably the first humanoids who used fire. He also used
stone axes and hand-adzes, most of which were discovered by the Baksoka
River near Pacitan.
During the Pleistocene period, the area seemed to have been at the
bottom of the sea, but through pressure it has risen.
The small Sangiran Museum, which is located some 15 km north of the
town of Solo (otherwise known as Surakarta), Central Java, shows a
diorama on how prehistoric men might have lived. There are also fossil
shells and animal bones, and enormous 4-meter tusks from a stegodon
which is estimated to have measured 11 meters from head to tail.
Some 5 km west of the museum stands a three-storey viewing tower,
from which one can see around the Sangiran valley. There is an
audio-visual room on the evolution of man according to Darwin’s theory.
The Sangiran 48 square km archaeological site located by the Bengawan
Solo river at the foot of Mt. Lawu is rich in prehistoric fossils,
often lying exposed in the fields after a heavy storm. Today, with
little real supervision, locals are only too eager to sell fossils,
mostly seashells to visitors, although illegal.
Quoted from : http://www.indonesia.travel/en/destination/422/sangiran
Supported by : JavaTourism, Lintang Buana Tours