Bandung during the transition Upper Pleistocene-Holocene
The Bandung city has been established since the seventeen century, but the history of the settlement around that city had occurred longer than peoples had suggested. The evidence of the settlement can be found in many sites, on the hill, in the caves and on the river bank of Citarum’s river.

Bandung is located in the area of West Java; about 180 km south-east the capital city of Indonesia (Jakarta) and about seven hundreds meter above sea level. Geographically, it is situated on the Bandung plateau and enclosed by the hills. Therefore, if we imagine a basin, the Bandung area is resided in base of the basin and the hills serve as the basin’s edge.

In the past, the Bandung area had submerged under the so-called Bandung Lake. This lake extends about 50 km from the East to the West, and about 30 km from the North to the South. The level of the lake reached about 725 meter above sea-level and Bandung area has occupied its sediment deposit so far.

Recently, many archaeological and paleontological artifacts have been found from some sites on the area of Bandung. The remains of obsidian flake and the Megalithic’s monument disperse on the hills around Bandung area. Some skeletal remains of human (included various animal bones) are found in the cave (is called Pawon cave) located on the limestone hills as well as many fossilized vertebrate remains are also discovered along the river sediment of Citarum’s river at the western part of Bandung. All of these findings are an important for studying how about the paleo-environments during the transition of Upper Pleistocene-Holocene and between Lower to Upper Pleistocene in Java (especially West Java) are.

Some of the most dramatic environmental changes took place across the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, between about 13,000-8,000 years ago. It includes climate change, rising of sea level, decreasing of glaciated areas, and changing of floral and faunal communities because of new climatic & geographic regimes. In addition, there is a thesis that during this period human started to living on all the world’s continents and major islands (except Antartica and Greenland) and after this period humans in many regions of the world, often distantly separated regions, invent or adopt food-production strategies, that is, agriculture or animal husbandry or both.

In relation to the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, one of notable Indonesian archaic Homo sapiens’s fossil are from Java is Wajak specimens found by Rietschoten and Dubois in 1880 and 1890 respectively, on the karstified hill around 2 km from Campur Darat village south-west of Tulung Agung city, East Java. Currently, they had been considered as a prototype of Wajak man who had ever lived in the Mesolithic; sometime between 10,000-5000 years ago in East Java. Another finding of human skeletal remains from Java is Pawon specimens (later is called Pawon man) found on the limestone hill (in the Pawon cave) in 2000 and 2003 along with primate skeletal remains and obsidian tools. But, we have not known yet when they had ever lived but some peoples argued that they are a representative of the Mesolithic; around 9000-5000 years ago, and the others claimed they are the Neolithic; around 4000-2000 years ago. In any case, based on dental morphological trait, the lower molar of Pawon man still retains a primitive trait but their molar size is smaller than Wajak man. In term of culture, Pawon man is supposed as representative of hunter-gatherer like Wajak man but we have not known yet about the paleo-environment of Pawon man whether it is also open-wood land like that of Wajak man or rain-forest.

In the vicinity of Ciratum’s river, many fossilized vertebrate remains have been discovered such as at Banuraja, Ciharuman, Cipatik, and Cipendeuy. Although those fossilized vertebrate remains have not been insufficiently studied but it was supposed that the faunal assemblage from Banuraja area has a similarity with Lower Pleistocene’s Kedung Brubus Fauna from Sangiran (Central Java). However, the age of vertebrate’s fossils from Cipendeuy is supposed to Upper Pleistocene. Homo erectus’s fossil remain has not yet been found in the vicinity of Citarum’s river so far. But, based on the finding at Banuraja and Cipendeuy, there is a possibility Homo erectus and even archaic Homo sapiens had ever lived in this area. Therefore, the site situated at the western part of Bandung (including the area of Citarum’s river) is a promising area like Sangiran for the human evolutionary (paleo-anthropological) research.

Bandung [11feb08Sn Flanner 641]
Bandung is located in West Java; about 180 km south-east of Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia) and about seven hundreds meter above sea level. Administratively, Bandung area which has the size about 2168.58 km2 is separated to be two parts. The first parts which cover the smaller area about 16,767 hectare (167.67 km2) belong to Bandung metropolitan where now Bandung city as its capital city and the others about 2000.91 km2 is a part of Bandung suburb where Soreang as its capital village.

Historically, Bandung suburb is older than Bandung metropolitan. The former had been established in the middle seventeen century (I don’t know the exact time) and Karapyak which now is called Dayeuh Kolot located around “muara Cikapundung dengan Citarum” 11 km south of Bandung city, is its first capital village. The name of its first governor was tumenggung Wiraangunangun and he had reigned until 1681.

In 1808, the governmental system in Indonesia changed from VOC to Hindia Belanda and Herman Willem Daendels had been pointed as the first colonized governor. At that time Bandung suburb was led by R.A Wiranatakusumah II (Dalem Kaum I) as the sixth governor who ruled from 1794-1829.

In his career as a colonized governor and on behalf to control his ruled area in Java, Daendels in the middle of 1808 (atau th 1809), initiated (start) to build the so called “post-road (Groote Postweg) ” extending about 1000 km from Anyer at the west to Panarukan at the East of Java. On behalf of his plan, he had asked to each local governor in Java for reinforcement by supplying the local labors.

In the vicinity of Bandung and toward the East, the trace of post-road can be seen in the map below.

In 1810, Daendels ordered to the governor of Bandung (R.A Wiranatakusumah II) to remove the first capital village (Karapyak) to Bandung (now is Bandung city) which is located on the surrounding of Cikapundung river and close the post-road. By this time, R.A Wiranatakusumah II was considered as the founding-father of Bandung and September 25, 1810 was considered as the birth day of Bandung city.

In the past time, Bandung area was under the power of Pajajaran kingdom. It is one of the Hindu kingdom in Indonesia; established in 923 by Sri Jayabhupati as written in the prasasti of Sanghyang Tapak and it collapsed in 1579. We have not known yet why Pajajaran collapsed and what the cause is. Anyway, before Pajajaran it was supposed some kingdoms had existed in West Java among others Salakanegara (100-350), Tarumanegara (350-650), Sunda & Galuh (700-1550) and Kawali.

Geographically, Bandung area is situated on the Bandung plateau and it has been enclosed by the hills. Therefore, if we imagine a basin the Bandung area is resided in base of the basin and the hills serve as the basin’s edge.

According to the Scientists, the Bandung area had ever submerged under the so-called Bandung Lake. This lake had been established by the explosion of volcano which its lava blocked the stream of Citarum. This lake extends about 50 km from the East to the West, and about 30 km from the North to the South (GAMBAR). The level of the lake reached about 725 meter above sea-level. Currently, Bandung area has occupied a broad and flat alluvial plain of extinct Bandung Lake.

There are many arguments when the Bandung Lake established. One of the arguments told that it had created around 6000 years ago because of the explosion of Tangkuban Perahu (it has been one of the big active volcano in Java) and it had gradually vanished since 4000-3000 years ago. Another argument said that it had made up longer than the previous argument had supposed that is around 125,000 years ago, because of the explosion of ancient Sunda mountain rather than Tangkuban Perahu (it has been located in the Sunda’s caldera), and it had gradually disappeared since the range of time between 25,000-16,000 years ago.

Recently, many archaeological artifacts have been found from many sites on the Bandung area. For example: the remains of obsidian’s flake and the Megalithic’s monument disperse on the hills of Bandung area. Many scholars believed that those remains related to the settlement which it had ever existed around the Bandung lake.

In addition, some skeletal remains of human (included various animal bones) have been found in the cave located on the limestone hills, at the western part of Bandung city. These skeletal remain is called the Pawon man.

It is interesting to study whether those archaeological artifacts are representative of prehistoric or historical periods. If they are a representative of historical period which kingdom can be related to them?

According to Historians (in Carita Parahyangan Sakeng Bhumi Jawa Kulwan Pratama Sargah), there was small kingdom so-called Kendan had ever exited at eastern part of Bandung city in the historic time. This small kingdom is a part of Tarumanegara. But, we haven’t known the exact location of Kendan kingdom. So, had the Kendan ever existed actually in the historic time? Or is the story of Kendan just a legend? Anyway, in the eastern part of Bandung city, there is a hill named Kendan which was built by obsidian rocks. Therefore, there was a possibility that the remains of obsidian’s flake found on the north-eastern hills of Bandung came from the Kendan hill.

Pertaining to the Tarumanegara itself, it was supposed that had existed in western part of Java from 4 to 7 century. There are no data who is the founder-father of this kingdom. However, among the name of its king, Purnawarman who ruled this kingdom in 395 to 434 is the famous ruler of Tarumanegara. According to Wangsakerta’s manuscript, he established the new capital city named Sundapura in 397. We don’t know exactly where the location of Sundapura is? According to some Historians, it may locate near the coast in West Java or around the rivers of Cisadane, Ciaruteun, and Cianten.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s