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Fishermen stumbled upon a jewel-encrusted figure of Buddha, worth millions of pounds, and it's believed they may have found an ancient Indonesian kingdom on the island of Sumatra, dubbed the “Lost Island of Gold”.
The magnificent life-size statue of the ancient Indian Śramaṇa from the 8th century was not the only hidden treasure found on the fabled location.
Indeed, the Island of Gold, which used to be inhabited by the Srivijaya civilisation – a Malay Buddhist empire dating between the 7th and 13th centuries, and mysteriously vanished a century later – has been explored for the past five years by fishermen and experts.
Consequently, the explorers – who had been scavenging the Musi River, near Palembang, known to be infested by crocodiles – found bronze monks’ bells, gemstones, coins and even gold ceremonial rings.
The fishermen also found a gorgeous small gold and gem ring with claws, which is believed to have been worn by a sacred bird, as well as a 21.5cm buffalo and rider ornament, and a handful of beads and sandalwood gold coins.
These artefacts are undoubtedly precious treasures, which have been, up to this day, hard to access.
Dr Sean Kingsley, a British maritime archaeologist, to the Daily Mail: “Great explorers have hunted high and low for Srivijaya as far afield as Thailand and India, all with no luck.
“Even at Palembang, the traditional location of the vanished kingdom, archaeologists failed to turn up enough pottery to boast even a small village.
“Srivijaya, the last mighty lost kingdom on earth, has jealously guarded its secrets.”
The archaeologist went on to explain that “extraordinary” findings had been fished up for the past five years.
“Coins of all periods, gold and Buddhist statues, gems, all the kinds of things that you might read about in Sinbad the Sailor and think it was made up. It's actually real,” Dr Kingsley added.
Srivijaya was not only an empire, but also a maritime and commercial kingdom that flourished between the 7th and the 13th centuries, writes MailOnline.
According to Britannica, this ancient empire is what is largely now known as Indonesia, but originated in Palembang on the island of Sumatra.
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It's said tons of Chinese coins and sunken ceramics have been found in the riverbed.
The expert in ancient history described Srivijaya as a “waterworld” in the autumn issue of Wreckwatch magazine, which he also edits.
Dr Kingsley revealed that people used to live on the river and that he believed that the civilisation came to an end in the 14th century.
He explained that people’s “wooden houses, palaces and temples all sank along with all their goods.”
The exact cause for the powerful kingdom’s collapse is to this day unknown, however, the archeologist has speculated that Srivijaya suffered from a volcanic catastrophic eruption, similar to Pompeii.
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