Traces of Prehistoric Habitation Found in Asei Kampung Village – Citizens found a number of archaeological items in Asei Village, East Sentani District, Jayapura Regency. Objects from prehistoric times were found during the construction of the road connecting Khalkote Beach with Telaga Ria, last month.

The archaeological objects consist of pottery shards measuring about 10 centimeters, stone axes, sago sticks, and sharpening stones. The location of the discovery is about 500 meters east of Khalkote Tourism Beach, which is also the location of the Lake Sentani Festival.

The objects of historical value were found by Corry Ohee at the site of clearing the sago forest for the construction of a connecting road in Ayennem. He found it piled on the ground and behind the grass.

“The discovery of this prehistoric object indicates that Ayennem was inhabited by people (it is a residential area) in the past. So, long ago our ancestors lived there, before moving to Asei Island,” said Ohee.

He said their ancestors came from the eastern region or the Pacific Island. The group then sailed west to Yamna Island. They then followed the waters eastward to Youtefa Bay, and finally arrived at the shores of Lake Sentani and settled in Ayennem.

“Our ancestors hunted, caught fish, gardened and harvested sago (to meet their daily food needs). They also grow bananas, taro, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, coconut, areca nut, and matoa. Their traditions are carving, painting, dancing, making boats, and building Khombo houses on stilt (traditional houses),” explained Ohee.

Based on the analysis of the Papua Archeology Center, the pottery pieces found in Ayennem were used for cooking utensils in prehistoric times. The thick shard is part of the jar to store the essence of sago. The thinner shards are part of the pot for cooking water, papeda, fish, and boiling lake snails.

“In prehistoric times, the lakeside was chosen as a residential location because it was close to water sources, fish, snails, and sago forests. The lake also functions as a means of water transportation by boat,” said Hari Suroto, archaeologist from the Papua Archaeological Center.

Hari hopes that the Ayennem site is well cared for so that it develops into a supporting tourist destination for the Lake Sentani Festival.

“The (local) community must maintain and take care of these prehistoric objects without changing their shape, let alone until they are lost. They can coordinate directly with the local government to preserve the Ayennem site.”

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