Ancient bronze jewelry salvaged from Bali sarcophagus

The burial urn was discovered in Keramas village, Blahbatuh. Photo: Pixabay
The burial urn was discovered in Keramas village, Blahbatuh. Photo: Pixabay

Officers from Bali Cultural Heritage Conservation Center (BPCB) have recovered several antique bronze jewelry pieces from a stone burial urn discovered in Keramas village, Blahbatuh last week. The sarcophagus was accidentally uncovered by a heavy equipment operator, named as Aom Madlomri by Tribun Bali.

Madlomri, a 45-year old Bogor native, was working on an excavation project when his drill hit a hard surface around seven meters below the surface. On impact, the stone coffin broke, but the relic was soon moved to a safe place and reported to a local resident who worked at the Archeological Center.

Following an on-site examination on Monday morning, Wayan Muliarsa, the head of BPCB, confirmed that the team had reclaimed several bronze trinkets, though it’s unclear whether they were previously used as bracelets, rings, or something else.

“The diameter is too small to be a bracelet and too large for a ring. The size is roughly the diameter of an egg. We can’t say whether these pieces were worn by the deceased or just placed in the sarcophagus,” he explained.

Speaking to Bali Post, Muliarsa suggested that the trinkets were probably personal items buried together with the body as “bekal kubur,” special provisions to ease the deceased’s journey to the afterlife, or as an offering to the gods.

While the condition of the bones within the tomb were already too decayed to identify the age or gender of the deceased, the team did salvage some adult-sized teeth.

No less than four sarcophagi—traditionally used to bury those of high social standing—have previously been unearthed in the village of Keramas. According to Komang Anik Purniti of BPCB, this recent discovery bears resemblance to previous findings which are believed to have originated from Bali’s megalithic era.

“The shape and engravings are similar to previous findings,” he told Bali Post.

With the permission of landowners and villagers, the sarcophagus has been moved to the BPCB’s collection in Bedulu village.

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