dinsdag 8 maart 2011


Our base camp
Welcome on the website of the Tanah Datar archaeological project!
Thanks to Indiana Jones, archaeologists have earned a reputation of adventurers and treasure seekers. However, very few archaeologists fit this profile - and none of us does. So, forget about Hollywood and learn about the every day life on our excavation.
It all started a couple of years ago, when Dominik and Mai-lin got the idea of excavating at the top of the Gombak Hill, near Batusangkar, in the province of West Sumatra. The landscape was beautiful, the food delicious and the site promising. A few sherds and a fourteenth century inscription convinced them that going through the lengthy process of searching for subsidies was worthwhile. For most of us, however, the adventure really began on Saturday, when we left Jakarta and embarked on a plane to Padang.
Bukit Gombak before the excavation
From Padang, a three hour drive brings us to our base camp in Tanah Datar, where we are introduced to our hosts and settle in our new house. The house actually looks more like a four star hotel than like the usual excavation house. Instead of a dormitory we find spacious rooms for two or three persons. Our first visit to the site leaves us an excellent impression. The hill is covered with grass. It is a sunny, airy place with a few trees and a magnificient view on the surrounding plain and on the Merapi mountain.
Monday, Dominik must make sure that we have all the necessary authorizations - from the local governor to the owner of the land that we want to excavate. First disappointment. One letter is missing and we are not allowed to start the excavation. Annika, Kilian and Johannes, who went back to Bukit Gombak, try to install our brand new total station - it is supposed to give us the position of any structure on the site. In vain. 
Hopefully, tomorrow is another day.
Johannes et Kilian trying to install the station