The government has made plans to turn the Liyangan historical site, located at the foot of Mount Sindoro in Purbasari village, Temanggung regency, Central Java, into a museum of natural disasters.
"It is the perfect location, thanks to the presence of ancient settlements and a place of worship that were buried by the eruption of Mount Sindoro around 10 BC," Central Java Cultural Heritage Preservation Center (BPCB) head Sri Ediningsih told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
The site, which was accidentally unearthed by sand miners in 2008, resembles the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy, which was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 BC. The Liyangan site is estimated to have been inhabited by humans from 6 BC until 10 BC, the majority of them Hindu.
The Central Java BPCB has already acquired 2.5 hectares of the desired 5 ha for the museum.
The site, divided into three parts - the place of worship, human settlements and farmland - has already yielded relics including temples, homes, kitchen utensils, pottery, chandeliers, farming tools, flowers, fruits, pine trees and entire farms.
"We hope the community can learn about natural disaster risk reduction from the Liyangan site [as] no human remains have been found," said Sri.
Liyangan site head researcher at the Yogyakarta Archeological Center, Sugeng Riyanto, said that in 2010, the team did not find the bones of any humans killed by the eruption, thus indicating residents during the Hindu Mataram era had abandoned the settlements before the eruption. The Liyangan site is located around 7 kilometers from the mountain's peak.
"The community living at the Liyangan site was already aware of disaster mitigation," said Sugeng.
The research team also found ancient farms, which are not very different from current agricultural systems.
Yogyakarta Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG) head Subandriyo confirmed the settlements at the Liyangan site were covered by pyroclastic flows and volcanic materials from Mount Sindoro, but scientific records on the eruption were only available from the 16th century.
"Mount Sindoro erupted dramatically in the 8th or 9th century. We also found paddies at the site which had turned into charcoal due to pyroclastic clouds," said Subandriyo.