FROM WAYBACK MACHINE
President’s men in quest to find ‘Atlantis’
The Jakarta Post | Fri, 02/03/2012 7:59 AM
Is it for real?: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) receives British author of Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia Stephen Oppenheimer at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Thursday. Antara/Widodo S. JusufFirst came the Blue Energy project in 2008 in a bid to turn water into fuel for motorized vehicles. Several months later came the Supertoy project, which boasted a superior paddy that could be harvested in a month.
Both projects, which were initiated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s special staff, ended up as hoaxes.
Undeterred, Yudhoyono is now turning to the work of Andi Arief, a member of his special staff for disaster mitigation, who has led a team of experts on a hunt for the remains of a civilization allegedly older and more advanced than Atlantis, which was a legendary utopian island that sunk into the ocean, as cited by Greek philosopher Plato, in 360 BC.
In a recent interview, Andi claimed that abundant evidence lay beneath the land and sea around Sumatra, Java and Bali, which led him to believe that Indonesia was inhabited by people with sophisticated technology for the time in question.
“There are indications that an advanced civilization older than Atlantis once inhabited our archipelago, but that natural disasters put an end to it,” said Andi.
Andi has been leading several green-horn researchers since early last year on an expedition and excavation of archeological remains.
A source at the team said Yudhoyono had at least twice organized an audience with them last year at his private residence in Cikeas, Bogor, West Java, and was impressed with the team’s findings.
Yudhoyono, who is known to have a deep belief in Javanese supernatural power, such as lucky numbers and rituals, accepted an audience with Stephen Oppenheimer on Thursday, a British geneticist and prehistoric human expert from Green Templeton College in Oxford. Oppenheimer suggested Indonesia might be the
location of the lost Atlantis.
The hypothesis of Oppenheimer’s book, Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia explains that the Southeast Asian subcontinent of Sundaland, which encompassed most of modern Indonesia, was once home to a rich and advanced culture.
“I don’t disbelieve that Atlantis is in Indonesia, but I don’t have the evidence, so I just keep quiet,” said Oppenheimer after the presentation, which was also attended by Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh and Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik.
Oppenheimer’s presentation at the Presidential Palace may link to Andi’s recent discovery of a peak called “Sadahurip” in Garut, West Java, which is believed to contain a pyramid constructed by an advanced civilization.
Andi said the pyramid was among evidence that suggested Indonesia was the cradle of the world’s civilization. It may have been dated more than 10,000 years old, even older than the Giza Pyramid in Egypt, based on the carbon dating conducted by Andi’s team.
Andi added that the pyramid might contain a new substance, which could replace oil as energy.
Chairman of the National Research and Development Center for Archeology Bambang Sulistyanto said no such thing existed in Indonesia.
“The country’s ancient culture knows only holy temples, such as Borobudur and Prambanan. I’ve never heard about any pyramids in Indonesia since I began studying archeology 25 years ago,” Bambang said.
— JP/Bagus BT Saragih