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Bukit Kerang Passo - 6000 BC

Passo Village on the shores of Lake Tondano
Jakarta (DreamLandLibrary) - Bukit Kerang Passo ... Forgotten Prehistoric Site (Rendai Ruauw)

Passo Village, located on the shores of Lake Tondano and has many hot springs, seems not only interesting to us today, but also to primitive humans in the past. About 8000 years ago, there once lived a group of people who work as hunter gatherers. They do not yet know how to grow crops or ceramics, and their equipment is also generally made of stone or bone. They throw garbage from their leftovers, and on that pile of garbage now stands the GMIM Church Imanuel Passo.

From the results of the excavation, experts have found some of their equipment, including in the form of stone flakes whose edges are 'sharpened' and bone fragments shaped like nails. Because of its small size, an average of less than 10 cm, experts suspect that the stone flakes are tools for grinding, while the bone fragments may be used as a piercing tool.

In addition to equipment, excavations have also been found in the bones of hunted animals. Of these, wild boar (Sus sp.) And anoa (Bubalus sp.) Appear to be the species that they hunt the most, as well as birds, bats (small), rats and pythons (python sp.). These bones are generally shaped in small pieces but the type can still be recognized. This is slightly different from the findings of a site that is almost the same age in South Sulawesi. Here, hunted animal bones are generally cut into small pieces so that the species are difficult to recognize anymore.

But what's interesting about their legacy is the rest of the shells from several types of lake shells (renga).

During their stay in Passo which seemed 'short', maybe around 500 years, these primitive humans had apparently eaten a lot of these lake animals and threw the rest of their shells somewhere. Because of the abundance, even this shell waste forms a pile about 1 meter thick with a diameter of about 30 meters. This stockpile caught the attention of experts, who were then excavated by a team from the Indonesian Archeological Research Center and the National University of Australia in mid-1974. The results of the excavation also revealed to us some of the mysteries of their existence.

In addition to the shells and bones of hunted animals, in the heap also experts have found the remnants of wood charcoal. When their age is determined by withdrawing carbon-14, they get an impressive number; wood charcoal originated from the period between 7000 to 8000 years ago. Thus, the Passo shell waste - as experts call this pile of shells - has become a valuable prehistoric site for Sulawesi. Even for Southeast Asia, there are not too many sites of this age. The interesting question now, who are the primitive people who throw the trash? Are they direct ancestors of the current Minahasa people or not?

Eight thousand years ago is clearly not a time close to us. At that time, when in the Middle East the first 'cities' were formed, in Southeast Asia darkness was still blanketing. Residents still live in the stone age nature with a lifestyle of hunting and gathering. Therefore they also leave little information for us now. Based on the characteristics of the stone tools, at least they can be divided into two big groups; Hoabinhian cultural support groups on the mainland and Sumatra, and cultural support groups of stone tools and shale tools on the remaining islands. Primitive people of Passo in this case belong to the second group.

Phenotically, they are Australo-Melanesians who are related to the ancestors of the indigenous people of Papua and Australia now (Aboriginal). And because Homo (Phitecanthropus erectus) who lived on the island of Java hundreds of thousands of years before was not classified as an anatomically modern human, the Australo-Melanesians became the first modern humans known to inhabit the Indonesian archipelago. It's just that, with the emergence of other immigrants some 5,000 years ago, namely the Southern Mongoloid people who were direct ancestors of the Minahasa people, the Australo-Melanesian people seem to disappear from Southeast Asia. Outside Papua (and of course Australia), their descendants are found in several places in the Philippines and Malaysia.

In Minahasa, their presence represented by this primitive man Passo seems brief, or else raises many questions. They are like lightning that shines for a moment at the beginning of the prehistoric hall. Between their time and the emergence of the Minahasa ancestors (ie, the Southern Mongoloid) there was a very long gap. If we follow the allegations of some experts (Riedel, Adam and Supit for example), then the arrival of Minahasa ancestors to the Land of Minahasa must be sought in the first millennium after Christ. This means that the gap between the primitive human era of Passo and the arrival of ancestors of the Minahasa people is around 6,000 years. Therefore, we can conclude that the ancestors of the Minahasa people certainly did not 'have time' to meet with them when they arrived at Minahasa.

However, we also cannot immediately say that the Minahasa people who now have no genetic connection whatsoever with Australo-Melanesians. Because after all, marriage and gene exchange between Minahasa ancestors and Australo-Melanesians can occur elsewhere, before the Minahasa ancestors reach the Land of Minahasa. Thus, the answer to the question of whether these Australo-Melanesians were direct ancestors of the Minahasa people became clear, although the description was not simple.

This paper does not intend to discuss this. The above description is deliberately put forward to show how the Passo Shellfish Trash has an important meaning in opening up our insights about pre-historic Minahasa. Unfortunately this site is not without problems. Besides being forgotten and not receiving serious attention from the Regional Government, this site also faces a dilemma problem. GMIM Church Building Imanuel Passo actually stands almost right in the middle of this site. And all the research to uncover the existence of this primitive Passo human clearly must be done by disturbing the peace of the church.

The existence of a permanent church building is clearly a problem. Research efforts are certainly not free. Moreover, the field of archeological determination indeed requires researchers to dig and dismantle the soil. However, can the church be blamed on this? Absolutely not! The church existed long before the land on which it was founded was realized as a prehistoric site. As the first church in Passo, this church may have existed since the end of the 19th century. The choice of this site as a place to build a church is also a very good reason. Besides being strategic because it is located on the main road side, the site's land is indeed higher than the surrounding land (because it is a heap of clams).

Another issue that cannot be ignored is the issue of treasure. There are several versions of the story, but the point is the story that this site contains high-value treasure. One of them is the issue of a deer statue (head) made of pure gold, which is said to be buried right under the pulpit of the present church. Although it sounds funny, this issue should not be taken lightly. Experience shows that many uncontrolled actions, including looting and murder, started from issues like this. Just look at Waruga, how many have been looted to become worthless anymore. Fortunately, part of the site is now under church ownership. But what about the parts of the site that are outside the church yard? Can you guarantee safety?

The Passo Shellfish Site clearly needs proper attention. This site needs to be officially protected. In addition, the value of this site as an object of historical research needs to be socialized to the local community to eliminate mistaken assumptions. Two important things that need to be achieved in socialization are raising awareness and arousing pride in the community. In some cases, there is strong evidence that conscious and proud public awareness is more important than armed officers.

However, it must also be remembered that in order to protect this site, don't repeat mistakes in the past. The Passo Shellfish waste clearly does not need 'confinement' like Batu Pinabetengan or 'localization' like Waruga-waruga in Sawangan Airmadidi Utara Minahasa. This site actually requires another touch so that its expression of primitiveness can be stronger. Therefore, what is needed here is the involvement of archaeologists, not archway contractors.

Regarding its value, the Passo Shellfish Trash site must also be used as a scientific laboratory that is open to the widest possible scope for scientific and legal activities. And so that the results of the study are not exclusive, it is mandatory for every researcher conducting the activity to leave copies of copies of reports or publications related to this site to the Government and the local Church. This will help develop a correct understanding of this site among the public.

Of course, this site can also be considered a tourist attraction to attract tourists. But there needs to be a guarantee that developed tourism must not damage the site. In addition, it must be guaranteed that what is developed is truly beneficial for the local community. Because only fair tourism can generate love and have an object in the community. On the other hand, tourism activities are also absolutely accompanied by the development of commitments so that all relevant actors, including the public, want to set aside some of the benefits for the preservation of this site.

The existence of a church building also should not be seen as a hindrance. The church does stand at the center of the site, but this does not mean that other parts of the site are worthless. If we believe that the Passo Shellfish Trash is only a small part of a wider ancient settlement, we should also consider that the surrounding area must have the same archeological potential. Moreover, the church in this case can be a potential partner for the protection and use of this site, as in some other places, where the church has become a very helpful partner for animal and forest conservation institutions.

Therefore, it is not excessive if the church must be involved in managing this site.

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