Indonesian minister of culture's public apology for destruction of archaeological site

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The Indonesian minister for culture and tourism was forced to make a public apology after the government ignored urgent warnings and failed to halt a controversial new museum and visitor centre in Mojokerto, East Java, which caused extensive damage to important archaeological remains at Trowulan. The site is the capital of the Majapahit kings, Hindu rulers of the largest empire ever established in Southeast Asia.

The village of Trowulan in Mojokerto was added to Unesco’s World Heritage Site’s tentative list in 1995. Although it was first excavated in 1815 by Sir Stamford Raffles, much of its history is still shrouded in mystery. First established in 1292 when Majapahit king Raden Wijaya conquered Java with the help of a fleet sent from China by Kublai Khan, the empire was at its greatest during the rule of Hayam Wuruk from 1350 to 1389, finally dissolving by the early 16th century as Muslim rulers and European trading companies seized control of the region.

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