Indonesia is blessed with bountiful nature, not only above the ground with its amazing mountains and fertile soil, or under the sea with wonderful and colorful underwater life, but also in the earth’s belly with numerous mineral resources such as oil, tin, coal, copper to silver and gold ore and precious stones.
Punctuated by numerous active volcanoes that form part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Indonesian archipelago is home to prehistoric man and many giant and strange animals. The Pithecanthropus erectus, or Java man, lived here thousands of years ago, whose remains were found atSangiran in Central Java. Here also lived prehistoric Homo Floresiensis, Indonesian small people, or ‘hobbits” recently discovered in the caves of Liang Bua, on the island of Floresin East Nusatenggara. Giant prehistoric animals also made these islands their habitat, where the Komodo dragons are the last living evidence of that prehistoric past.
Samples and Fossil collections of these are well displayed at the Museum of Geology in Bandung.
Recently the Museum of Geology in Bandung, capital of the province of West Java, displayed fossils of the largest ancient elephant ever found. Estimated to have lived some 200,000 to 250,000 years ago, the bones were excavated in 2009 at Sunggun in the Mendalem Village, in the Blora Regency of East Java, 2 km from the Bengawan Solo river.
Upon discovery, the fossil attracted worldwide attention and even made it to the headlines of a number of international media. Identified as Elephas hysudrindicus, the ancient elephant fossil was found in 90 percent complete condition from head to foot and from trunk to tail. The fossil measures 4 meters high, and 5 meters in length, weighing in at approximately 8 tons. Scientists believe that this ancient elephant excavated is larger than any modern elephant living today.
Previously, Indonesian Paleontologists unearthed about 2,000 ancient elephant fossils in Indonesia but never as complete as the one found in Blora, East Java.
Housed in an Art Deco building at Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung, the Museum of Geology of Bandung displays diverse collections of geological significance, collected from all across the Indonesian Archipelago. These date back to discoveries made in the Dutch colonial era up to the present day. They illustrate the rich geological features of Indonesia as depicted in diverse displays of rocks, minerals, and fossils.
The Museum’s collections were obtained from various field researches and excavation missions that date as far back as 1850. Today, the Museum also serves as an important laboratory and geological research Center in Indonesia, as well as an educational tourism venue for a wide range of visitors.
First opened on 16 May 1928, the Museum of Geology has undergone intensive renovations and was reopened to the public on 23 August 2009 by the President Megawati Soekarnoputri and Minister for Mining, Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s present President (2004-2014).
The Museum features three themes, namely : Life on Earth, Indonesian Geology, and Geology and the Evolution of Mankind.
The Museum houses studies of Indonesia’s geological treasures beneath the earth and beneath the seabed, a large collection of fossils of mammals such as elephants, rhinos, fossilized tree trunks and specimens of rocks of different gemstones.
Located on Jalan Sudirman 57, the Museum is in the heart of the city of Bandung, and is, therefore, easily accessible.
Entrance to the Museum is FREE.
The Museum is Open : Monday – Thursday from 09.0 am to 3.30pm, and Saturday and Sunday : from 09.0 am to 1.30pm. The Museum is closed on Fridays.