TALITHA (1) : The Land of a Thousand Megaliths

Submitted to Department of Tourism and Culture in Lahat Regency as an assignment fulfillment of the Requirements for the Bujang Gadis Lahat

Rabu, 17-November-2021, 00:30

First of all, the writer wants to express her thanks to Allah SWT, because of His blessing and grace, the entitled “The Land of a Thousand Megaliths” can be finished on time.

This paper is a requirement to fulfill the assignment from registering on Bujang Gadis Lahat 2021. In completing this paper, the writer faced many problems, but with the help of many people, all the problems could be passed. May Allah SWT give the blessing for them. Although this paper has many deficiencies in the arrangement and explanation, the writer hopes that it can be used as a reference for the reader to understand the charm of Lahat Tourism especially about Megalith.

Lahat, August 13rd, 2021

Table of Contents
Preface 2
CHAPTER I Introduction 4
1.1. General Background 4
1.2. Purpose of the Study 4
CHAPTER II Content 5
2.1. Definition of Megalith 5
2.2. Megalith in Lahat Regency 6
2.3. Care for Megaliths 7
CHAPTER III Conclusion 8
Bibliography 9

CHAPTER I Introduction
1.1. General Background
Lahat Regency is one of the regencies in South Sumatra Province. Lahat Regency consists of 7 main sub-districts, namely Lahat, Kikim, Kota Agung, Jarai, Tanjung Sakti, Pulau Pinang, and Merapi. However, after the division, the number of sub-districts in Lahat Regency increased to 22 sub-districts with a total area of 4,362km²

Lahat Regency is a highland surrounded by hills and mountains. The hilly area is part of the Bukit Barisan cluster that stretches along the island of Sumatra. Geographically, Lahat Regency is located at 3.5 degrees – 4.5 degrees south latitude and 103 degrees to 103.70 degrees east longitude.

Indonesian tourism is widespread from Sabang to Merauke and spread over several islands such as Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. The diversity of flora and fauna is very much on each island. Especially Lahat Regency, South Sumatra Province, has a lot of natural tourism potential including archaeological sites, dances, songs, traditional ceremonies/rituals which are still preserved by the community.

Every region has its tourism, but do you know about Megalith? The amazing form of nature ever shown to us. Luckily, we have it in Lahat, our beloved city. The potential for archaeological tourism is found in almost all sub-districts in Lahat Regency which originates from prehistoric times, even the Regency with the most Megaliths in the Indonesian Record Museum, “Lahat, The Land of a Thousand Megaliths.”

Megalithic tradition is a custom that produces objects or buildings from stone associated with ceremonies or burials. The resulting monumental buildings are usually related to the efforts of traditional leaders to maintain their dignity. Supporters of the megalithic tradition believe that the spirits of ancestors who have died are still alive in the spirit world and can affect their lives. With good treatment, they expect protection from harm.

1.2. Purpose of the Study

  1. The readers will know the definition of Megalith
  2. The readers will know where to find Megalith in Lahat
  3. The readers will know what will happen if Megaliths are neglect
  4. After learning about megalith, the readers are expected to save and love their tourism attraction.

    CHAPTER II Content
    2.1. Definition of Megalith
    Megalith is a large stone (neology from Greek: μέγας (Megas) means big, and λίθος (lithos) means stone) used to build the structure or monument. Megaliths are the main sign of the existence of the megalithic tradition, a tradition that appears in several places on earth. The stone used can be in the form of a single stone (monolith), a large or small pile of stones, or an arrangement of stones arranged in a certain shape. Megaliths are often cut or carved in advance and made in conjunction with certain religious rituals or ceremonies, such as death or planting time.
    The forms of megaliths that are commonly found in various places are menhirs (stone monuments, can be inlaid or carved into certain figures), dolmens (stone tables), stone tombs, and sarcophagi (stone coffins). In the Indonesian megalith tradition, distinctive forms have developed, such as waruga, corpse statues, and kenong stones. In Europe, structural megalith monuments such as Henge were also made.
    It should be said that the megalith tradition is not only related to large stone objects, but also spatial structures such as stone rings (stone cages), punden terraces, tombs, marae, and hills (such as Hügelgraber). In addition, rituals/ceremonies and belief in a certain power become an intangible part of the megalith tradition, so that along with the findings of megaliths there are often metal, wooden, and earthenware objects (eg jars) related to the ceremony.
    According to R. von Heine Geldern, the entry of megalithic traditions into Indonesia occurred in two major waves:
    • Old Megalithic, ±2500-1500 BC
    • Young Megaliths dating back to 1000 BC
    The following is an example of a megalithic tradition found in Indonesia.
    • Burial Stone, which is a burial container made of stone.
    • Menhirs or erect stones are natural stones that have been shaped for worship purposes or for burial marks.
    • Dolmen or stone table is a relic consisting of a large stone supported by smaller stones as its legs.
    • Kalamba, cylindrical stone tombs that are mostly found in Central Sulawesi.
    • Pandusa, which is a stone tomb supported by other stones as a tomb wall and is usually found in Bondowoso.
    • The sarcophagus, which is a stone tomb consisting of a container and a lid that generally has a protrusion at the end, is usually found in Bali.
    • Waruga is a stone tomb that looks like a house and is usually found in the Minahasa area.
    • Punden terraces, which are relics in the form of stairs, function as worship of ancestral spirits and are considered sacred.
    • Stone statues, namely carvings in the form of humans or animals that are believed to be the form of ancestors.
    • Menhir statues, which are anthropomorphic sculptures without legs consisting only of the head, neck, and body.
    • Areosali, which is a terrace usually used to decide a case or to ratify a rule that applies in the Nias area.
    • Neogadi, which is a sculpture resembling a round stone table that is usually used for dancing during ceremonies in Nias.
    • Lasara, which is a sculpture in the form of the head of an imaginary animal that is considered a protective animal.
    The locations of megalith discoveries in Indonesia are spread across the islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Nusa Tenggara, and Sulawesi. In Sumatra, places that have a lot of megaliths in Sumatra are mainly mountainous areas.
    2.2. Megalith in Lahat Regency
    Lahat has always been known as the paradise of megaliths because it has around 1,027 megalithic relics spread over 41 sites throughout Lahat Regency, South Sumatra.
    On that note, in 2012 Lahat Regency as the oldest district in South Sumatra was awarded the Indonesian World Record Museum (MURI) record as the area with the most megalithic relics in all of Indonesia.
    The major megalith sites in Lahat include the Stone House, Si Pahit Lidah. Batu Macan, for example, is a guard symbol (against adultery and bloodshed) from four regions, namely Pagar Gunung, Gumay Ulu, Gumay Lembah, and Gumay Talang.
    Megaliths shapes are dynamic, such as statues of humans hugging elephants, tigers, buffalo, wrapped in snakes, and so on, which are evidence of the greatness of the Pasemah Bukit Barisan culture (Lahat, Pagar Alam, and Empatlawang) which had grown and developed around 2,000 years ago.
    Kristantina Indriastuti from the Palembang Archaeological Center some time ago explained that the sites were found in rice fields, fields or coffee plantations, and even in the yard of a house.
    Some of the sites that have been identified, according to Kristantina, are Lubuk Tabun, Pajar Bulan, Tanjung Telang, Karang Dalam, Lesung Batu, Pagaralam, Tinggihari, Sawah Jemaring, Mount Megang, Kampung Bakti, Pajar Bulan, and Muara Danau.
    The megaliths, which are spread across 22 sub-districts in Lahat Regency, have been famous since the Dutch era and have attracted scientists from various countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States to conduct research.
    Based on a search, Gumay is an area where megalithic sites are found. Among the thousands of megaliths that exist, there are megaliths that are located in one complex and always attract attention to visit. It is called Megalith Tinggi Hari, which has three site locations (Tinggi Hari I, II, and III). Then in the yard of the Gumay Ulu sub-district, as well as in the newly discovered Tanjung Raja Village (Tanjung Raya Megalith Complex). More will likely be found, because the area is ideal as a location for human settlements in the past. In the Tinggi Hari complex, there are various types of megaliths such as statues of menhirs or upright stones, statues of humans, five types of stone mortars and statues of deer pigs.
    Sir Mario Andramartik, as Chairman of the Panoramic of Lahat community, said, Lahat does have many megaliths that are 2,000-3,000 years old and they are cultural relics that have been around for a very long time.
  5. Megaliths are Indonesian artifacts and relics that must be preserved. However, all megaliths in Lahat are under the supervision of the Conservation Center in Jambi Province. Lahat only has megaliths, but the main management is in the conservation center. However, security and safeguards were returned to the Lahat Regency Government.
    Lahat Regency which had been inaugurated by the Indonesian Record Museum (MURI) in 2012, as the owner of the most megalithic sites in Indonesia, continues to prove that. Until now, new megalithic sites are still being discovered in this Lahat district.
    2.3. Care for Megaliths
    We need to think about how to preserve Megalith as a historical tourist attraction, Gumay area is the ideal location to find Megalith and is also the most location for coal mines as it is one of the areas with the most coal source.
    The first step ever is to find the location of a known megalith site and visit them as well helping on promoting the location. We need to promote tourism for the generation so it is never be forgotten by our generation until the next generation. fight back when irresponsible people start destroying or threatening the existence of megaliths because it is our pride that we must protect.
    We need to highlight the infrastructure of the Megaliths site, the road condition to access the sites, and the safety of the location.
    The prime example is Megaliths in Tinggi Hari. the infrastructures of the site are not in a good condition. The paved road is unfortunately in bad condition, even though it can fit two four-wheeled vehicles if they meet each other they will encounter several obstacles, such as one vehicle having to wait for the other vehicle to run first. Fortunately, two-wheeled vehicles can still run smoothly but still, the road conditions are not good enough and comfortable. We hope the government can do something about the parking area of the megaliths site, as it is the most prominent feature to attract tourists.
    We need to raise awareness of the megalith. for teenagers, megaliths are not an interesting place to visit for some people, but megaliths can be a place of learning for students to get to know the environment and history of their area. Nowadays, teenagers prefer to go to shopping centers and cafes in the style of young people. So as parents, it is necessary to invite their children to get to know their region and culture. as lahat is a land of a thousand megaliths that we must protect and be proud of.

CHAPTER III Conclusion

In conclusion, if you are interested in historical relics such as megaliths, it is not wrong to visit Lahat Regency. It isn’t hard to witness the masterpieces of these ancestors in Lahat. Still, you do need time to see them one by one. If you are curious, come to the Tinggi Hari megalith, Gumay Ulu District, Lahat. Located about 20 km from Lahat City, tourists can use both two-wheeled and four-wheeled vehicles. Access to the location sadly is not in a good condition but vehicles can still reach the location. Not only that, during the trip, tourists will also be amazed by the beautiful rows of hills, streams, and trees. It is certain that not only will you praise the masterpieces of the creator of heaven and earth, but visitors will also be proud of the relics of their ancestors and will be encouraged to maintain, care for, and perpetuate them as a cultural heritage that will never be obsolete by time.

I hope our government can be more paying attention to our tourism attraction, we need to preserve them. Not just our thousand Megaliths but also all tourist attractions that we have in Lahat, we need to look after them as it is our cultural heritage. Don’t let the future generation forget their own culture. But to make sure they know and are proud of their culture, we need to do it first as the old generation. For a better future, for a better Lahat. We love you. 

Education, M.-H. H. (2007). Glossary. Wayback Machine.
Poesponegoro, M. D., & Notosusanto, N. (2008). Sejarah Nasional Indonesia I: Zaman Prasejarah di Indonesia. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka.
Soejono, R. (2010). National History of Indonesia. Balai Pustaka: Prehistoric Indonesia Jakarta .
Sukendar, H. (1998). Album Tradisi Megalitik di Indonesia. Jakarta: Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan.

Created by:
Talitha Alya Githa

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