Friday, June 22, 2007


The eruption of the volcano Tambora in 1815 killed 117,000 people in Southeast Asia, including those believed buried under ten feet (three meters) of pumice and ash in the recently discovered village.

The researchers found the remains of two adults and their belongings: bronze bowls, ceramic pots, iron tools, pieces of furniture, and other artifacts. The design and decoration of the artifacts suggest that the Tamboran culture was linked through trade to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Records from a historian who visited the village prior to the eruption further suggest that the Tamborans spoke a language unlike others in Indonesia but similar to the languages of Cambodia and Laos.

The most surprising find were the elegantly decorated pieces of china likely from Cambodia or Vietnam, which suggest the Tamborans were wealthy traders. Researchers said that the Tamborans were well off and great horse traders. They also traded honey, sappanwood used to make red dye and sandalwood for incense and medications.

Anthropologists also added that many of these villages converted to Islam in the mid to late 17th century and took on the hierarchal religious and political structures of Islam.

Tambora's eruption in 1815 was the largest volcanic eruption in human history and resulted in a period of global cooling the following year that became known as the year without a summer. The eruption wiped out the tiny "kingdom" of Tambora that had lived in the volcano's shadow.

The designs and writing on several of the artifacts found at the excavation site suggest that Tamboran culture was related to those of Vietnam and Cambodia. The Tamboran language has been linked to the group of languages used in various places throughout Southeast Asia.

Among the artifacts found at the Tambora excavation site were ceramic pots, bronze bowls, iron tools, and a metal bracelet.

At the excavation site, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Tambora's crater, scientists found the remains of a Tamboran home. Much like current homes in the region, the dwelling had been built on stilts.

The ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia are the realms of our ancestors. Some are found, some are yet to be found. These kingdoms are an undeniable proofs that we belong to a proud and noble race.


-- National Geographic


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