Besemah Megaliths, Evidence of Prehistoric Civilization and Culture in South Sumatra

Photo Source: Indonesiakaya - The most finds of megalithic buildings on the island of Sumatra, one of which is in the southern part of the island, namely in the highlands of Besemah Land.

The area is located between Bukit Barisan (Lineup Hill) and the Gumay Mountains, on the slopes of Mount Dempo, Pagaralam City, South Sumatra Province, Indonesia.

Relics of megalithic sites in this area, as reported by Pagaralamkota, have been reported by Ullman in 1850, Tombrink in 1870, Engelhard in 1891, Krom in 1918, Westernenk in 1922 and Hoven in 1927.

Among the findings reported, almost all of them assumed the buildings were Hindu heritage.

In 1929, van Eerde visited the place. However, he differed from previous assumptions.

Van Eerde stated that the megalithic remains in Besemah were never influenced by Hindu culture, but were still within the reach of prehistoric times.

Megalithic forms are evident in these remains, such as menhirs, dolmens and other findings.

Then, van der Hoop conducted more in-depth research for about 7 months at Besemah Land.

He produced extensive publications on the megaliths in the area. This publication is still very valuable for research on megalith sites in Besemah Land.

Van Heerkeren has made an overview of megalithic discoveries in Indonesia, including in South Sumatra.

Meanwhile, Peacock tries to discuss the Besemah megalith from a historical perspective and its function in an effort to study past social life.

From findings to research, certainly in Besemah Land, South Sumatra, there was once a culture that lived and developed in a prehistoric trajectory.

This is proven by the many megalithic cultural remains scattered in several locations in the region.

Megalithic remains found in Besemah, mainly in the form of menhirs, dolmens, stone tomb coffins, mortars and stone statues in static and dynamic styles.

Among the many megalithic finds, the most interesting in Besemah Land are the stone statues which are described by von Heine Geldern as having a "dynamic" style.

Besides most of the statues depicting a human (a man) with several accessories, these statues also depict animal forms, such as elephants, tigers and monkeys.

In addition to the sites mentioned above, in 1999-2002 the Palembang Archeology Center conducted further research at the Muarapayang site.

The Muarapayang site is one of the prehistoric site complexes in Besemah Land. The findings obtained, in the form of pot shards, clay jugs and foreign ceramic fragments.

Later, burial jars, human skeletons, stone tools, megalithic buildings, earthen ramparts, puyang tombs and so on were found. (SJ/IND)

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