Recoveries of Rouletted Ware From Lamreh, Aceh and Lumut, Tapanuli Tengah, Sumatra

Edmund Edwards McKinnon1 & Ichwan Azhari2

1Independent Researcher, Indonesia

2Universitas Negeri Medan, Indonesia

Recoveries of a small number of sherds of early 1st millennium CE rouletted ware have been made as surface finds at both Lamreh in Aceh Besar Regency and at Lumut in Tapanuli Tengah Regency in northern Sumatra. The sherds recovered at Lamreh come from the Ujung Batee Kapal headland, notably Location 1/57 of the Earth Observatory of Singapore working in collaboration with Syiahkuala University, Aceh Geohazards Project Survey of the Aceh Besar coastal region. Surface finds at Lumut, also known as the Bongol, a recently discovered mediaeval riverine harbour site in the village of Jago-Jago, in Tapanuli Tengah Regency. If and when confirmed by chemical analysis, these recoveries will provide important new data relating to inter-regional trade relationships between Sumatra and South Asia some two thousand years BP. The inference of these recoveries is that the northern tip of Aceh and the Tapanuli Bay part of the west coast of Sumatra, with its hinterland rich in camphor and benzoin were integral to the early inter-regional web of trade that extended from the Middle East to eastern Indonesia and Vietnam. The headwaters of the Lumut River also provided access to the alluvial gold-bearing areas in Rao and Minangkabau. It should noted that in the context of recovery of rouletted ware that both the west coast of Sumatra and the Aceh Besar region coastline are seismically unstable, being in close proximity to the lengthy subduction zone that extends northwards along the west of Sumata and thereafter across the Indian Ocean. Such areas are periodically subject to both earthquakes of varying strength and to occasional tsunamis which may cause the coastline to either sink or rise according to localised seismic activity over long periods of time and which have affected the duration of settlements and harbour sites throughout the ages.