Mount Srobu in Papua: A call for cultural heritage status to preserve ancient civilization

Mount Srobu
Mount Srobu, located between Nafri Village, Tobati Village, and Enggros Village in Youtefa Bay, Jayapura City. - Jubi/Ramah

Jayapura, Jubi – According to Grace Linda Yoku, the Head of the Culture Division at the Jayapura City Education and Culture Office, Mount Srobu is an ancient civilization in Papua that dates back to prehistoric times.

During a meeting at the Jayapura Mayor’s Office on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, Grace Yoku stated it was crucial to preserve and utilize Mount Srobu, suggesting that one way to achieve this is by designating it as a cultural heritage site.

Situated in Youtefa Bay, Mount Srobu spans an expansive area of over two hectares and boasts an impressive elevation ranging from two to 98 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by Nafri Village, Enggros Village, and Tobati Village.

“It is time for Mount Srobu to be designated as a cultural heritage site in order to ensure its sustainable management while reaping benefits, particularly as a tourist attraction,” she said.

Grace Yoku, who also serves as secretary of the Jayapura City Cultural Heritage Expert Team (TACB), explained that the process of obtaining cultural heritage status required registration with the central government.

“Now, with the establishment of TACB, we have a structured approach in place to handle the registration, assessment, recommendation, and final determination of cultural heritage sites, while ensuring their physical and legal protection through rescue operations, security measures, zoning, maintenance, restoration, and overall management,” she explained.

The Jayapura City TACB has undertaken a comprehensive work program to establish Mount Srobu as a cultural heritage site, recognizing its intangible cultural value. This includes initiating the registration process for national ranking.

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The team’s responsibility entails bestowing cultural heritage status to objects, buildings, structures, locations, or geographical units. This process is carried out by the city administration, following the recommendations provided by the team.

“TACB comprises preservation experts from diverse fields of knowledge who possess the required certification to offer recommendations for the identification, ranking, and removal of cultural heritage,” said Yoku.

She further elaborated on the criteria for cultural heritage, as outlined in Law No. 11/2010 on Cultural Heritage. According to the law, cultural heritage must be at least 50 years old, possess distinctive characteristics of historical, scientific, educational, religious, and cultural significance, and hold cultural value that contributes to strengthening the national identity.

Mount Srobu
Head of the Culture Division of the Jayapura City Education and Culture Office Grace Linda Yoku JubiRamah

Erlin Novita Ijejami, a junior researcher at the Papua Archaeology Agency, has dedicated her research efforts to Mount Srobu since 2014. Her investigations have revealed the existence of a residential area encircled by human tombs located at the rear of the mountain.

Furthermore, Ijejami has discovered remnants of shells and animal bones, indicating their use as food sources, as well as cultural artifacts and objects crafted for storage, cooking, and daily use.

Erlin expresses her hope that Mount Srobu will soon be officially recognized as a cultural heritage site. This designation would safeguard its existence and prevent its disappearance over time. Additionally, she believes that such recognition would allow the world to gain a deeper understanding of Papua’s identity, eliminating any underestimation or disregard towards the region. (*)

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