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Lost kingdom of Tambora

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  • catalhoyukbalter
    Hi everyone, Here is my take on the Tambora story, note that my sources express some skepticism about what it all means. cheers, Michael
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2006
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      Hi everyone,

      Here is my take on the Tambora story, note that my sources express
      some skepticism about what it all means.

      cheers, Michael http://www.michaelbalter.com

      Lost Kingdom Found?

      By Michael Balter
      ScienceNOW Daily News
      28 February 2006

      On 5 April 1815, Mount Tambora, a supposedly extinct volcano on the
      Indonesian island of Sumbawa, began to erupt. Five days later, the
      eruption reached cataclysmic proportions, spewing as much as 100
      cubic kilometers of magma and pulverized rock into the air along
      with 400 million tons of sulfurous gases. Nearly 90,000 people died.
      The event still ranks as the largest and deadliest volcanic eruption
      in recorded history, and it led to an extended episode of global
      cooling known as "the year without a summer" (Science, 15 June 1984,
      p. 1191.) Now an international team of volcanologists claims to have
      rediscovered the first signs of a "lost kingdom" buried by the
      eruption.

      Thus far, the find has been limited to a small wooden house
      unearthed 25 kilometers west of the volcano's caldera in 2004. When
      the team, led by Haraldur Sigurdsson of the University of Rhode
      Island (URI) in Narragansett, excavated the structure, they found
      the bones of two adults as well as artifacts including bronze bowls
      and ceramic pots. Co-excavator and geophysicist Lewis Abrams of the
      University of North Carolina in Wilmington says that the house's
      location--near the bottom of a gully cut through a 3-meter thick
      layer of volcanic debris-- makes it "certain" that the structure was
      buried by the Tambora. In addition, melted glass and carbonized wood
      beams indicate that the house was exposed to extreme heat.

      No other sites in the vicinity have yielded significant artifacts,
      says Sigurdsson, making it likely that this house was part of the so-
      called Kingdom of Tambora, which was once known throughout the East
      Indies for its honey and wood products. And from the style of the
      decorations on some of the artifacts, Sigurdsson and his colleagues
      believe that the language spoken in Tambora was related to the Mon-
      Khmer group of languages, now spoken across Southeast Asia. The
      team, which announced its discovery last night through the URI press
      office, had delayed going public with its findings due to an
      agreement with National Geographic. Sigurdsson plans to return to
      the site in 2007, where he hopes to unearth a palace he believes is
      also buried there.

      Roland Fletcher, an archaeologist at the University of Sydney in
      Australia, believes the site does indeed represent the ancient
      kingdom. "A settlement under the Tambora ash would be likely to be
      from the state or kingdom" known by that name, he says. But he
      questions whether the village was powerful enough to boast a palace,
      noting that it was located inland so that it would not be raided by
      pirates--a sign of weakness. John Miksic, an archaeologist at the
      National University of Singapore and an expert on early Indonesian
      cultures, agrees that Tambora was not a major kingdom. He adds that
      it's unlikely the Tamborans spoke Mon-Khmer, because earlier
      research has shown that the island was occupied by Austronesians not
      related to the Khmers.
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