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Digital Online Thesis Collection

The following authors have kindly deposited these following works with us for online dissemination.  If you would like to use the information or ideas presented in the works below, please acknowledge the source through the use of proper academic citations.


  • Ardika, I. W. (1991.) Archaeological Research in Northeastern Bali Indonesia. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Australian National University. (6.52MB PDF)


Archaeological discoveries indicate that the coastal areas around the villages of Julah, Pacung and Sembiran in northeastern Bali have been involved in long distance trade since at least 2000 years ago. The discovery of Indian sherds, including Rouletted Ware, a rim sherd of Arikamedu type 10, a sherd inscribed with Kharoshthi characters and hundreds of glass beads suggest that contacts between India and Bali were already occurring at this time. The Indian traders might have stopped at Sembiran while trading for spices and aromatic woods from the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago. Sembiran probably functioned as an ancient port located on a major spice trade route.

Sembiran might have also functioned as a manufacturing site, as suggested by the finding of a fragment of a mould for impressing decoration into wax during the production of Pejeng-type bronze drum.

Inscriptional data from the 10th to 12th centuries indicate that Julah (including Sembiran?) had developed as “a gateway community” into northeastern Bali by this time. There was a market in Julah, and also a guild or community of foreign traders. Regulations are mentioned in the inscriptions for those who lived in this settlement, which was plundered at least once and the villagers captured, killed, or dispersed. It is not clear why Julah was eventually abandoned as a port, but rapid alluvial sedimentation and poor security could have been major reasons for its abandonment.

This thesis describes the excavated archaeological data from sites in the vicinity of Julah, most of which date to the first centiry AD, later deposits are present in some trenches. Appendices at the end of this thesis describe the result of pottery and soil analysis, glazed trade ceramics, and the contents of the inscriptions of the 10th to 12th centuries.


  • Edwards McKinnon, E. (1984). Kota Cina: Its Context and Meaning in the Trade of Southeast Asia in the Twelfth to Fourteenth Centuries. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University. (23.9MB PDF)


Over the past three-quarters of a century, the search for the lost Malay kingdom of Srivijaya has evolved through the study of epigraphy, historical sources, particularly Chinese, and art historical artifacts, to geographical survey and analysis of archaeological materials recovered by excavation. These developments have led to a more complete understanding of both human and natural resources and the environment of the area in which they existed.

Little or nothing was known of Srivijayan period archaeological sites in northeastern Sumatra, an area which historical sources suggest played an important role in east-west maritime trade during the first and early second millennium A.D. Excavation undertaken at Kota Cina thus provides data which help to shed light on cultural and economic in this area during the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, a period in which the name Srivijaya fades from historical sources.

Analysis of ceramic materials, both low fired earthenware and high fired imported stonewares, has proved useful, both as an aid to dating and for establishing physical trading and cultural relationships overseas. The high quality of much of the imported stoneware suggests a high level of prosperity among the ancient inhabitants of the site and infers important connections with the interior, a rich source of natural products such as benzoin, camphor and possibly gold.

Analysis of excavated materials also indicates important connections with both south India and south China and suggests the presence of Tamil and south Chinese communities at the site. The presence of the former may account for the occurrence of Dravidian sept names among the Karo merga Sembiring community in the mountainous hinterland. The existence of a Chinese community in northeastern Sumatra occurs at a time that historical sources indicate increased Chinese maritime activity in the area.


  • Miksic, J. N. (1979). Archaeology, Trade and Society in Northeast Sumatra. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University. (30.6MB PDF)


“By the first or second century A. D. a set of integrated political and economic institutions existed in many ports on a network of maritime trade routes which connected coasts of east Africa, western Asia, India, and Southeast Asia. China independently evolved similar procedures and institutions in her dealings with nomadic groups along with her inland frontiers, and when in about the fifth century A. D. the ports in south China joined in the commerce of the Nanhai (South Seas), China used many of these institutions to regulate this commerce as well. Merchants from the West would have found practices in the Chinese ports to be little different from those already familiar from visiting other ports in the network. This system was still functioning when the Portuguese and other Europeans began trading in the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth century.

Indonesians probably participated in the Indian Ocean network at a very early period. Indonesian products such as camphor, benzoin, cloves, and pepper were important commodities in Indian Ocean markets. Control over foreign trade could provide enormous wealth for rulers, and historical evidence shows that members of elites in maritime Southeast Asia and elsewhere were deeply concerned with acquiring wealth and exotic objects to use as means of maintaining political power.

Historical reconstructions indicate that Sumatran emporia were important commercial centers by the early first millennium A. D. The sources of marketable Sumatran produce lay in the highlands, but there is little historical information regarding the routes by which the commodities were brought to the coastal emporia, and the arrangements between hinterland producers and lowland rulers which governed this internal traffic. This lack of information is to some extent the result of policies which lowland rulers pursued, in their attempt to interpose themselves between producers and foreign merchants.

Archaeological research, still in the initial stage in Sumatra, can contribute to the study of the old commercial system in two ways: by discovering and examining sites of coastal emporia, and by tracing the cultural, political and economic relationships between coastal emporia and their hinterlands. The second goal has not yet been attempted in Southeast Asia. Studies of hinterland-lowland relationships can contribute significantly to reconstructions of pre-colonial Indonesian society, and the role of long-distance trade in the development of Indonesian civilization.

In this study, which focuses on the Deli River valley of northeast Sumatra, [the author uses] historical, geomorphological and archaeological information to discover places which were important in pre-colonial trade in imported objects, and the extent to which the “gateway city” hypothesis is useful in understanding early Sumatran economic processes. [The author] also make some suggestions for future research in Sumatra to test hypotheses formed on the basis of this data, and consider briefly some ways in which the study of Sumatran civilization can contribute to the broader questions of the role of long-distance trade in the evolution of civilized societies generally.



  • Mundardjito. (1993). Pertimbangan Ekologi Dalam Penempatan Situs Masa Hindu-Buda di Daerah Yogyakarta: Kajian Arkeologi-Ruang Skala Makro. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Universitas Indonesia. (9.46MB PDF)

    • English translation of thesis summary by S. T. Foo (140KB PDF)


Abstract (written by S. T. Foo):
How might people choose certain plots of land for the location of a temple building during the Hindu-Buddhist period in central Java? Would some of these decisions be guided by ecological considerations? Ancient Indian texts, such as the Mānasāra-Śilpaśāstra and Śilpa Prakaśa, which outlined some guidelines for temple construction in India, for example, suggested that land and water potential were important considerations; however, were the builders following such guidelines in central Java? Mundardjito’s regional research, which focuses on the Bantul and Sleman districts of Central Java, looks at whether there are correlations between temple site distribution and natural resource variables (such as terrain gradient, landforms, soil types, and rock types) as well as land potential variables (such as effective soil depth, groundwater availability, and the distance to rivers and/or springs). His research goes on to look at what kinds of variable clusters and site groupings would be produced on the basis of ecological variables alone.

Please note that the indonesian PDF only contains the Summary, Chapter 1, Chapter 7, and segments of the appendix. The AU has translated the summary into English.


Dr. I Wayan Ardika is a senior lecturer at Udayana University’s Faculty of Letters. He has a bachelor’s degree in Archeology from Udayana University and a doctoral degree in Prehistory and Anthropology from Australian National University. He has served as the dean of the Faculty of Letters at Udayana since 2003. He has also served as the dean of the Faculty of Tourism (1999-2001), head of postgraduate program on tourism (2001-2003) and has served in the post-graduate program on cultural studies (head, 2001-2003; secretary, 1996-1999).

Dr. E. Edwards McKinnon is an Associate Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, ISEAS - Yusof-Ishak Institute. He has received a PhD. and an M. A. from Cornell University and is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, London. A long term resident in Indonesia, he is concerned with cultural heritage management and conservation and has written on art historical and archaeological subjects relating to Sumatra, west Java and Kalimantan, in particular archaeological ceramics, Buddhist imagery in Kutei and early Islamic tombs in Aceh.  His current research interests are mediaeval south Indian relationships with Sumatra, the pre-sultanate archaeology of Aceh and arrival of Islam as well as the historical impact of seismic events in the Aceh region.

Dr. John Miksic is an Associate Senior Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, ISEAS - Yusof-Ishak Institute. He is also Associate Professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.  As a student Dr. Miksic joined archaeological expeditions to northern Canada and Honduras, but over the last 40 years he has been based in Southeast Asia, conducting archaeological and historical investigations in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma and Cambodia.  He is a widely-published author with key works including: Archaeological research on the “Forbidden Hill” of Singapore: excavations at Fort Canning (1985); Borobudur: golden tales of the Buddhas (1990); Old Javanese Gold (2010); Earthenware in Southeast Asia (2003); Early Singapore 1300s-1819: Evidence in maps, texts and artefacts (ed. with Cheryl-Ann Low) (2004); and the Historical Dictionary of Ancient Southeast Asia (2007). His interests include early Buddhist artifacts and monuments; ceramics of China and Southeast Asia; gold; urbanization; and maritime trade.”

Prof. Dr. Mundardjito is currently Guru Besar Luar Biasa at the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Indonesia.  He was one of the founding members of Ikatan Ahli Arkeologi Indonesia (IAAI) in 1976 and has also written important works on Borobudur and its vicinity and regarding Trowulan and the Majapahit kingdom.  Specializing in landscape and ecological archaeology, he was also involved in the implementation of an Indonesian Archaeological Code of Ethics, which was passed by the IAAI Congress in 2005.  He received the Achmad Bakrie award for Social Thinker of the Year in 2014.