While often goes unmentioned in archaeological journals, the team of Indonesians who worked tirelessly to help the European researchers played a major role in finding the fossils that were, and still are, one of the most important finds in biology and history.
Until before Indonesian Independence, foreign researchers could not supervise researches conducted in Sangiran. They need local figures who controlled the field, which at first to show the potential locations of fossil findings. They are Andoyo (Perning), Atmowidjojo, and Toto Marsono (Sangiran) who worked hard to help them, to unearthed the bones directly from the soil, which later became a source of knowledge on early human and their environment.
During 22 years of his stay in Europe, Raden Saleh, a famous painter who was nicknamed "The Painter of the King", not only did painting, but also studied various sciences such as mathematics, lands’ survey, paleontology, and others. Upon his return to Java, scientific ideas are outpoured through a variety of scientific reports about explorations in Java. He found old bones and he applied scientific methods to preserve it: recording the excavation site, describing, to analyzing the fossils. For foreign scholars such as Eugene Dubois, LJC van Es, and GHR Koenigswald, his contribution in the field of paleontology has been recognized.
Atmowidjojo, who were not trained to write finding records, and to mark locations on the geological map, is an important local figure who accompanied Koenigswald in Sangiran for alomost ten years. In 1937 he discovered the fossils of Sangiran 2, in the form of skull roof, consisting of 40 fragments.
Toto Marsono is a character with diverse the role and has a long record of his involvement in the search for prehistoric fossils in Sangiran. As the Chief of Krikilan village at the time, Toto is the liaison between the community and researchers. He provided his house for Koenigswald during his research, as well as the storage for fossils found in the researches.
The exhibition was curated by Iwan Setiawan Bimas.
Text and photos : Iwan Setiawan Bimas
Translate : Ike Wahyuningsih and Wuri Hatmani
Edit Video : Puja Apriyanto