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World Heritage Site

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Sangiran Early Man Site

Sangiran Early Man Site

The Sangiran Early Man Site is one of the key sites for the study of human evolution.

A second occurence of "Java Man" was discovered here: first discovered in 1891 at Trinil by Dutchman Dubois, more skulls were found by an archeological party organized by German G.H.R. von Königswald at Sangiran (near Solo).

"Java Man" at the time was one of the first known human ancestors. He is now been reclassified as part of the species Homo erectus.

About 60 more fossils have since been found here, making it the most fruitful of the early hominid sites that have been named a WHS. The skull and bone pieces have been discovered by both archeologists and locals in quite a large area. This whole area (56 square km) has been designated a WHS.

Map of Sangiran Early Man Site


  • Cultural

Visit October 2009

The entrance gate, car park and souvenir stalls are worthy of a monument à la the Taj Mahal. Sangiran clearly is proud of its WHS status. I arrived by taxi from Solo train station (18km). The station has 5 trains a day to Yogyakarta, so it's a good day trip from there. The Sangiran site consists of a museum, a huge building with a creative layout. However, there are only two exhibition rooms containing skulls, bones and tools.

October 2009

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.

October 2009

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.

October 2009

Community Reviews

Chris W., Netherlands 23-Apr-17

I can't really review this site as I went on a Monday. FYI: The site is closed Mondays as are many other museums in Indonesia. If you plan to visit do it on another day. Bribing the guards didn't work either (to walk the outdoor area).

I also recommend to combine this (not UNESCO) with a visit to : Ceto and Sukuh Temples. You won't be able to visit on a day trip by train; you need a (private) car then.

Read more from Chris W. here.

Bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero The Philippines 24-May-13

Sangiran Early Man Site by bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero

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.

Shanty, Indonesia 16-Jan-11

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.

Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang Indonesia 20-Aug-08

Sangiran Early Man Site by Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang

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 :-)

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Community Rating

Community Rating 1.67. Based on 6 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Sangiran Early Man Site

Unesco ID: 593

Inscribed: 1996

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 3   6  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 1996 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Sangiran Early Man Site


The site has 5 connections.


  • Fossils: ... illustrates the development of Homo sapiens sapiens from the Lower Pleistocene to the present through the outstanding fossil and artefactual material that it has produced. (OUV)