Sangiran's story is that of 'Java Man", discovered in the fields here in the 1930s. It is part of the species Homo erectus, one in the chain of predecessors to the modern homo sapiens. At about 700,000 - 1,600,000 years old it is the oldest finding in Asia, but a lot younger than the African examples of early hominids. The site is also known for its animal fossils and neolithic stone tools.
I've seen a number of Early Hominid WHS now, and they all struggle to turn their historical fame into a good visiting experience. Sangiran unfortunately is no exception to this. I guess it's best to tick it off quickly, and spend the remaining part of the day in nearby Solo. This is a relaxed Javan town with two Royal Palaces and a couple of nice little restaurants.
bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero (The Philippines):
The Sangiran Early Man Site may not be as popular a destination as its neighboring W.H.Sites Prambanan and Borobudur. Nevertheless, to be fair, it is a well-maintained museum of great importance worthy of a visit.
From Solo, my friends drove me to the site on a motorbike. Despite summer heat, the 45 minute journey over the countryside is pleasant, providing a good survey of beautiful traditional Central Javanese houses. Upon approaching Sangiran, one can notice the plethora of billboards and signage promoting the "Homeland of the Java Man". Such local efforts are truly commendable.
The site is divided into areas: the museum and the view-deck on top of a nearby hill. I managed to see both, but the latter was a bit disappointing as it fails to pinpoint the perimeter of the site - aside from endless trees, you can actually see the dome of the museum and that's just it.
The three exhibition halls are presented in a way that would make visitors really get hooked on what is being highlighted by Sangiran. I enjoyed the bones a lot (in the second hall, you are even allowed to touch the fossils of an old mastodon)! The main problem, however, is that most descriptions and verbiages are only in Bahasa Indonesia, which was a bit sad on my part as I really read stuff. For a site/tourist destination of worldwide importance, I think it is imperative to provide English texts/translations for other nationalities to understand what those stored inside the museum are. I'm not quite sure if the management has plans to open some of the dig sites for ocular visits, but it should be one feature worth considering for Sangiran (In fact, Lenggong Valley, another WHS in Malaysia, is looking at highlighting their in situ sites for tourism as well).
Also, to my surprise, the present museum building is actually designed by the grandfather of a friend of mine in Jogjakarta - which is, of course, another reason to celebrate the visit.
Date posted: May 2013 Shanty (Indonesia): Finally we arrived at Sangiran Museum. It's such great place for us to introduce this Early Man Site to our kids. It was rain so we decided not to visit the digging site but we were so happy the guide showed us the video of how the bones can be found after burried for million years. So interesting. The Museum were built in modern architecture and still in progress of renovation.
I would recommend Sangiran Museum as one of study tour or field trip object for students in Indonesia.
Date posted: January 2011 Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang (Indonesia):
Quite a dissapointing site!
If I didnt insist to see the sites, the visitors could only see the museum which consist of only several bones and replica which is not very well maintained.
I'm very sad to see how this appointed WHS could be treated like it's taken for granted!
Yet the journey to the sites is great (although they're not well maintained as well)... thank God for my tour guide, so I know the stories of the excavations... and it's like the closest thing I've ever got to what Indiana Jones did :-)
Date posted: August 2008
Have you been to Sangiran Early Man Site? Share your experiences!