Reconnaissance visit by Wellen and Caldwell

In July 2017 Ian Caldwell and Kathryn Wellen undertook a 12-day archaeological tour of South Sulawesi. Areas visited included Maros, Barru, Mandar, Tana Toraja, Luwu, Wajo, Sidenreng, Soppeng and Bone. The aim of the visit was to visit (or to revisit) important early historical sites to gather new information on the pre-Islamic history of South Sulawesi. Three of the most interesting findings are described below.

The port of Soppeng

Soppeng is an inland agricultural polity with no direct access to the sea. However, historical records suggest that it had a close relationship with the west coast. Soppeng’s early rulers are said to have been the rulers of Suppaq, a polity on the west coast directly north of ParePare. We had been told that KiruKiru, 36 km south of ParePare, was once the port of Soppeng. Local informants stated that it was part of Soppeng ri Lauq, and that Soppeng ri Aja lay inland in the direction of Bulu Dua. The Bakosurtanal map, however, indicates it as Soppeng ri Aja. It is unclear how goods were transported from Soppeng to KiruKiru as there is no detectable pass from Watasoppeng on maps or on Google Earth. It is possible that goods were carried south via Gattareng in Soppeng ri Lauq.

Bakosurtanal Map 20i1-63 PAREPARE marks the mouth of the river as Soppeng ri Aja


The palace centre of of Sangallaq

With the help of Budianto Hakim of Balai Arkeologi Makassar and local informants, we visited the palace centre of the Torajan polity of Sangallaq. Known as Layuk Kaero, this site is located eight kilometers east of Makale on the summit of a substantial hill. The road up is steep and winding and it was easy to imagine the hill as a fortified settlement. On the summit are a number of tongkongan, one of which is clearly very old. The exceptional design of this building suggest that it was occupied by a high-status family.

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Layuk Kaero

While Toraja tends to be marginalized in the historiography of Sulsel, according to Bugis historical records the former polity of Sangallaq provides an origin and source of status for ruling families in the Ajattappareng region. A sign claims Layuk Kaero to be the birthplace of the Torajan cultural hero Lakipadada.


Passakorang the political heartland of Mandar

In Mandar we were joined by Horst Leibner who is engaged in a project to research the early history of Mandar. Together we visited the hill site Passakorang in Polewali, a few kilometers west of the Mapili River. Passakorang was the center of a kingdom that controlled the trade route leading out of the northern mountain ranges. It was conquered in the late sixteenth century by its western neighbour, Balainipa. At the foot of the hill is the grave of Callaq Kanuku, "the Red-Nailed Princess" who dispatched her enemies with a thrust of her fingernail. On the summit of the hill were a number of ceramic sherds ranging from early Chinese monochromes to Ming celadons and Ming blue-and-whites. This is evidence that Passakorang was part of the trade networks that from the thirteenth century onwards connected South Sulawesi to the wider archipelago.

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The hill Passakorang

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Oath stones at Allimungan Batu

On the opposite side of the river is a commemorative site known as Allamungung Batu where the "seven upriver and seven downriver" federation of Mandar is said to have been established.


The graveyard of the Javanese at Malangke

At Malangke in Luwu we visited a site called Tampung Jawa "The graveyard of visitors from the west". This site consists of two grass-covered mounds underneath which are man-made structures. One mound is about eight meters high and the other about ten meters high. According to Pak Sunardi, the owner of the site, the mounds have been looted for gold and ceramics. The mounds are surrounded by a flat semicircle of land which we were told is a former kampung. Budianto Hakim informed us that Balar was planning an archaeological investigation of this site in September 2017. When the results of this research are published they will be made available on the OXIS website.

We also visited the grave of the first Muslim ruler of Luwuq and his religious teacher Dato Sulaiman, and located one of the house posts from the sixteenth-century palace of Luwu. The remains of the post are underwater. 

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Remains of the sixteenth-century palace at Malangke

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Former kampung at Tampung Jawa


The Islamicization of Luwuq

At the Mesjid Jaimi in Palopo we were informed by Imam Haji Latif Abdul al-Muskati that the ruler of Ponrang was the first local leader to convert to Islam. According to an inscription on the mosque wall, Islam was practiced in Ponrang for a decade before the conversion of the ruler of Luwu. This tradition was corroborated in Ponrang by Abdul Latif Jabar, and can also be found in the Ensiklopedi Sejarah Luwu (Idwar Anwar 2005). Abdul Latif and others told us that the Mesjid Jami at Ponrang was the first mosque to be built in South Sulawesi and that the present-day mosque is built on the original foundation.

 

Further peregrinations

In Sengkang we visited the hill Sompeq ri Tiro in Lompoq, where Simpurusia, the founding to manurung of the kingdoms of Cina and Luwuq is said to have descended. We visited Allangkanangnge ri La Tanete, the palace site of Cina, where we interviewed local pilgrims seeking blessings. In Soppeng we visited the Bola Riddie, the former palace of Soppeng. The regalia of Soppeng is under the care of Puang Lolo, Pak Cecek, age 60. We visted Sewo, the palace site of West Soppeng, and the neighbouring hills of Bila and Botto. We also visited Sekkanyili where the founding to manurung of the ruling family of Soppeng is said to have appeared. 

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The to manurung site at Sekkanyili

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Puang Lolo Pak Cecek


From Soppeng we drove to Bone over extensive highlands that tradition maintains were once part of the “kingdom” of Cina. Quite what Cina comprised is subject to debate: it is difficult to see how such a disparate landscape could be ruled by a polity whose apparent palace center lay in the western Cenrana valley. In our opinion the name Cina represents the memory of a high-status corporate kingship group whose members ruled at a various places in the central peninsula.

In Bone we visited the Museum La Pawawoi, which has an impressive collection of artefacts and memorabilia. This collection is maintained by dedicated and enthusiastic young staff. We also drove to kecematan Cina in search of the hills that Wé Benrigauq, an early fifteenth century ruler of Bone, is said to have bought in exchange for 60 buffaloes. Further geographical research by Campbell Macknight has now located this hill in the northwestern part of kecamatan Cina.

During our journey we were generously assisted by members of Balai Arkeologi Sulawesi Selatan and other government agencies. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone, and to Budianto Hakim, Muhammad Ridha, Aldi Mulyadi and M. Munir in particular.  

         © OXIS 2017