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Indonesia's Long-Lost Island of Gold Reappears

By: April Carson

On the island of Sumatra, a team of underwater archaeologists was conducting a survey when they discovered a large number of gold objects at the bottom of the Musi River, which are more than 1,000 years old. Experts consider that they may have discovered the legendary "Island of Gold," as Srivijaya was known in ancient times.

Have archaeologists located the mythical Indonesian Island of Gold?

The island of gold has long been the subject of folklore and historical records. The people who inhabited the island were said to be man-eating snakes that breathed fire, as well as fiery volcanoes and Hindi-speaking parrots. The most important aspect in these stories is, however, unimaginable riches.

For decades, many archeologists have been attempting to discover the "Island of Gold," focusing on indirect clues from myths. In recent years, the hunt has been narrowed to Palembang in Sumatra, where a discovery was made recently that may make a splash.

Divers have discovered a treasure trove of ancient artifacts in the muddy bed of this river. They've already recovered hundreds of figurines, temple bells, musical instruments, mirrors, coins, and ceramics from the bottom. In addition to gold sword hilts and rubies-inlaid gold necklaces and coins were discovered.

How old are the artifacts?

The most significant artifacts date from the 7th to 10th centuries AD. In reality, valuable treasures have been discovered at the bottom of the Musi River, and only time will tell how many of them are still there in the silt. According to experts, this implies that Srivijaya's lost city was found in the Musi River.

People have known about the existence of Srivijaya or its ruins since the Dutch era. Yet, now that this lost city has been found again, is it important for Indonesia? I mean, what does this tell us about our history?

The discovery of this lost city is indeed quite significant. Srivijaya was a major maritime kingdom in Southeast Asia with an Indian-style temple complex.

Srivijaya was a major maritime kingdom in Southeast Asia with an Indian-style temple complex. The remains of this civilization were found above the waterline of Indonesia's Musi River, which means that it is not flooded during high tide.

It was an important seaport in ancient times, when it served as a vital link between East and West. From the mid 600s AD until 1025, this city-state was governed by strong rulers who controlled the Strait of Malacca. The last date is well documented in history. According to written records, the troops of the Indian Chola kingdom invaded the city and king Rajendra Chola I had several monuments (including its huge stone temples) removed from the site and relocated to India.

The decline of the Island of Gold

Historians believe that trade continued there for about two centuries after that. The value of the port began to tumble rapidly after that. But historians believe that commerce continued in the region for roughly two centuries afterward. When the last prince of Srivijaya, Parameswara, attempted to regain control of trade in the area in 1390s, he failed to do so, and founded the Malacca Sultanate.

Today, there are just a few physical traces of the city's existence, with the exception of artifacts recovered from the river by divers. To date, no official archaeological digs have been conducted on the Musi River. As a result, it's difficult to determine how many things were discovered and taken by fisherman in past years. It's conceivable that all sorts of artifacts, from small statues to gold ingots, are still sitting on the riverbed. The rivers in this geographic region, locally known as "sungai," are generally filled with mud and sand that can be difficult to sift through without external power tools.

Archaeological work around Palembang has previously been conducted at a short distance from the new site. They claimed that a prosperous and large seaport existed near by. The study of ancient tales suggests that the local rulers possessed great riches. It was not just trade that brought them money; they were also affluent in sandalwood and camphor, both well-known ancient exports of the region.

What caused the demise of this culture?

What caused this advanced culture to vanish without a trace? According to scientists, Srivijaya was mostly made of wooden structures erected on an island in the middle of the river and raised on stilts around it. It was a floating metropolis that looked much like today's Southeast Asian cities.

It may only survive a few centuries if people abandon it. The wooden piles would surely decay, causing the city to sink and become river mud. And, alone, the gold artifacts that survived tell of a once-great metropolis.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav







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