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Capitals Archaeology Lecture Series – Jakarta: Past & Present

Program Category: Archaeology

Type / Category: Lecture Series / Archaeology and Heritage Conservation

Date/Duration: The first set of lectures on Jakarta, will be delivered on Tuesday 23rd May 2017 at 18.30-20.30 hrs.

Venue: Siam Society, Bangkok

Fee: None – The event is Free of Charge

In 2011, SEAMEO-SPAFA launched the first talk on the archaeology of Southeast Asia’s capitals, with the first talk given by John Miksic and Johannes Widodo on the archaeology and heritage conservation of modern Singapore. In August 2015, SEAMEO SPAFA in cooperation with Siam Society, revived the Capitals Lecture Series with lectures on Phnom Penh: Past and Present. As a continuation, the next Southeast Asian capital to be presented is Jakarta, Indonesia where two lectures on its archaeology and urban conservation will be given.

18:00-18.30 hrs                 Welcome Reception

18.30-19.30 hrs.                Kalapa –Jayakarta – Batavia – Jacatra – Jakarta: An old city that never gets old

Annissa M Gultom, Jakarta History Museum; Museum of Bank Indonesia; Jakarta Biennale 2017; Tribuana Komunika

19.30-20.30 hrs.                Urban Conservation in Jakarta since 1968

Mr Bambang Eryudhawan, Indonesian Architectural Documentation Centre (PDA) and Indonesian Institute of Architects (IAI).

The Archaeology of Jakarta contains many layers with thin period separations. In the geographical sphere of “greater area Jakarta”, its roots starts from the younger end of lithic periodization found along with Buni tradition pottery. The Buni area stretched along the north coast of west Java towards the interior to the south. This geographical sphere then became the oldest kingdom in the archipelago, Tarumanagara, an Indian-influenced Hindu Kingdom, and when people started to have things set in stone, literally. Overpowering ancient kingdoms came after another until the Europeans involvement peaked for the first time when Portuguese signed a treaty with Sunda (a Hindu Kingdom, ruler of Kalapa port) to defend their territory from Cirebon (an Islamic Kingdom in the east part of west java). Kalapa became a prized area that was being fight over until VOC, led by J.P Coen, burnt it down and built Batavia. Kalapa as one of the few main ports of Sunda, has been welcoming people (with or without their will) from different areas. The overflowing of multicultural influence through this port continues through when Batavia became capital of VOC, then for the Netherlands Indies. The area grew into what is now known as the greater area of Jakarta. Although this greater area is now delineated into three different provinces, the cultural span of the area is still the same.


Annissa M. Gultom is currently the acting curator for Museum Sejarah Jakarta (History Museum of Jakarta), Museum of Bank Indonesia and Jakarta Biennale 2017. She also the co-Director of Tribuana Komunika, a museum consultancy in Indonesia focusing on museum planning and development. She studied archaeology in Universitas Indonesia, Depok and was a Fulbright Scholar for her MA in Museum Communication at the University of the Arts. She has been working with and for museums and other cultural resource development offices since 2002.

Since our independence in 1945, Jakarta transformed gradually from a colonial into a modern city. New areas and new buildings were developed to fulfill urgent needs in housings, shops, schools and other facilities as population growing rapidly after the war. All was executed without city planning until the Outline Plan of Jakarta was published in 1957. Later on, the Outline Plan was mostly adopted into the Master Plan of 1965-1985. Governor Ali Sadikin (1966-1977), with Master Plan 1965-1985 in his hands, brought new approaches to modernize the capital city. But new developments need strategic spaces, give pressure to old city centre and historic buildings. On the other hand old buildings were unfortunately abandoned, ruined, or even demolished for some reasons. By 1968, Jakarta has been changed dramatically. At the very crucial time, Ali Sadikin realized that something had to be done. There should a creative equilibrium between the old and the new. After some trips to Europe and USA he believed that Jakarta has an obligation to conserve its historical assets in the name of history and civilization. In 1968 he established Jakarta Department of Museum and History. From that moment, Jakarta’s urban conservation program is started.


Bambang Eryudhawan is chairperson of the Heritage Review Board of Jakarta and the co-founder of Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur. He has held appointments in other organisations such as the National Cultural Heritage Team and Indonesian Institute of Architects, and previously taught in Universitas Bina Nusantara, Universitas Mercu Buana and Universitas Trisakti. His recent works include the drafting of Conservation Plans for Oei Tiong Ham’s House in Semarang and Four Historic Houses in Banda Neira.

"Museum Fatahillah" is another name of History Museum of Jakarta (Museum Sejarah Jakarta) *Photo courtesy of: Annissa Gultom
"Padrao" is a treaty between Portugese and Sunda Kingdom that marks the start of the colonial time of Jakarta. *Photo courtesy of Annissa Gultom
"Taman Fatahillah" is the old city square *Photo courtesy of Annissa Gultom
"Pintu Besar" means big door, was an area where the big door/main entrance of Batavia castle *Photo courtesy of Annissa Gultom
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