Topogaro Cave, Traces of Prehistoric Human Life in the Wallacea Region

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

For archaeologists, the Topogaro Cave site is very special. Topogaro, which is in Morowali Regency, Central Sulawesi Province, has many archaeological remains, especially in caves where people lived from the past.

Topogaro Cave itself is 3 km from the east coast of Sulawesi and is located approximately 150 meters above the hill. Around the location there are three caves called Topogaro 1, Topogaro 2, and Topogaro 3; as well as there are many pottery finds in rock shelters or stone walls which are markers of past life.

Rintaro Ono, researcher from the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan, while giving a public lecture, Wednesday [2 August 2023] on the topic “Human Migration, Resources Use and Maritime Networks in Wallacea” , explained that special excavations at Topogaro Cave began in 2016 until 2019, but stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic until now.

From the results of the excavation, the researchers managed to dig around 19 layers of soil with different depths, reaching more than 5 meters. Research in Topogaro Cave was carried out in conjunction with the Archaeological Research Center from BRIN [National Research and Innovation Agency].

Various kinds of findings can be seen in each layer of excavation in each of the Topogaro Caves; ranging from stone tool fragments, pottery fragments, chert tool fragments, small and medium-sized animals, to shells that provide clues that there are traces of prehistoric human life in this area.

The pottery finds in Topogaro also bear similarities to the Lapita culture that can be found in the Pacific region, which indicates interaction with other areas in the Pacific.

Interestingly, the results of excavations in Topogaro Caves 1 and 2 also found many animal remains in the form of shells, bones such as cuscus, animals from the Suidae family such as babirusa and also anoa which are estimated to be between 8 thousand and more than 42 thousand years ago.

Not only that, in Topogaro 2 Cave there is also a handprinted painting on the eastern wall which is said to be an important finding but still requires further analysis. The findings of this painting have similarities with ancient paintings in Maros .

According to Ono , based on the early cultural traces of Homo Sapiens in Sulawesi and also Timor, there are indications that the behavior and use of technology is similar to that in contemporary Africa and Europe, such as rock paintings, fish hooks, shell ornaments, and also various kinds of tools. lytic.

However, this important site is threatened by the presence of stone mines such as the C quarry and nickel companies which have been thriving in Morowali for the past few years. In fact, in some parts, said Ono, half of them had been used up but fortunately the main site was confirmed to be safe.

“However, it is necessary to protect it through zoning at the Topogaro Cave site for protection, because there are still many caves and rock shelters around it, ” he said.

Lantebung and Optimism for South Sulawesi

Mangroves in South Sulawesi still face various challenges, ranging from land conversion, illegal logging, to growth disturbances due to exposure to plastic waste. In the midst of the existing challenges, the mangrove planting program is still carried out as an effort to absorb carbon and mitigate disasters.

If in the national mangrove planting program it is planned to cover an area of ​​600 thousand hectares, then in South Sulawesi, during 2022, mangroves have been planted in a location of 1,000 hectares.

“Of the 86,000 trees we planted today, 36,000 seedlings were planted in Lantebung, 50,000 in Pajukukang. We hope this can contribute to changes in the ecosystem and economic income for the surrounding community,” he continued

Mangroves should not be planted too far out to sea because the existing sedimentation height does not match the natural mangroves that grow.

This effort was handled by building a guldan , a rectangular building measuring 4×2 meters surrounded by bamboo as a barrier. Inside the bunds  the sediment is raised to the height of the natural mangroves that grow around the site.

Another challenge is the presence of garbage which is then overcome by using waring  as a barrier around the rehabilitation area, so that the mangroves can grow and photosynthesize properly.

This activity involved several local youths to monitor for 8 months, where every month they reported the mangrove growth rate, sediment height and what lessons they got from the activity.

YKLI also helped build a breakwater to deal with high wave disturbances, which usually occur between October and January.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *