Understanding Behind Shipwrecks:
filling the missing gap of local history

Dublin Core


Understanding Behind Shipwrecks:
filling the missing gap of local history


Session 12
Some Challenges and Issues in Underwater Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia


Archaeological evidence of contact and exchange can be found in many sites in Indonesia. Different areas of the Archipelago experienced different levels of socioeconomic complexity because of many factors including local resource distribution and topography, which in turn affected the nature of contact with foreign traders. Contacts between resource-providing areas and outsiders who sought these resources have affected the development of local cultures. Buddhist, Islamic and Christian ideas and material culture were intensively and widely distributed in the Indonesian Archipelago from the seventh century onward. Archaeological data supported the activities of the contact, such as Hindu and Buddhist temples, Chinese temples, Mosques, Churches, forts, ceramics, beads, statues (made from stone and metals), and shipwrecks. While historical data gives information on the varieties of Indonesian commodities. Hundreds of shipwrecks are believed to be within Indonesia seas. However, the study of shipwrecks—especially in Indonesia--is always as a single object and usually only discusses the artifacts found from the shipwreck.

Based on the information above, there are many data which could be helpful in understanding the past from shipwrecks. How would it be if the ship had reached the local harbour? Who would buy the artifacts? What would have happened with the locals if they used the artifacts? Is there any tangible artifacts and intangible culture which could be related to the development of the harbours or the local kingdom? Is there any ‘missing link’ of the local history which is found from the shipwreck? This paper will analyse the effect of shipwrecks and understanding the role of local history behind the shipwreck. This paper will study the correlation of shipwrecks found in the Batam and Cirebon regions of Indonesia with the history of those two places.


Dr. Widya Nayati


November 2011



Dr. Widya Nayati, “Understanding Behind Shipwrecks:
filling the missing gap of local history,” The MUA Collection, accessed November 26, 2022, http://www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1273.

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