As the waters of Lake Sentani in Jayapura regency, Papua, recede due to the dry season, ancient stone menhirs dating back to the megalithic era have now become visible in the lake.
|A megalithic era menhir located in Lake Sentani, Jayapura regency, Papua
[Credit: Papua Archaeology Center]
Papua Archaeology Center researcher Hari Suroto said the menhirs had been submerged in the lake. “We feared that these megalithic objects would disappear or shift their position due to the flash floods that hit Sentani in March 2019,” Suroto said to local news outlets.
When the water in Lake Sentani is high, the relics are barely visible in the water. However, once the water recedes, visitors can see the remains of menhirs – man-made upright stones – from Asei Island, a small island located in the middle of Lake Sentani. The carvings on the menhirs are clearly visible.
On a hill northwest of the lake, there is also a megalithic site called Doyo Lama. When the water in the lake recedes, a stone plank is visible at the bottom of the Doyo Lama site, standing on the land’s surface by the lake.
Two large menhirs are also visible in the waters of Mantai Island. The western Sentani people believe that the two menhirs that represent an adult male and female couple.
Not far from the large menhirs are 10 smaller menhirs, which are believed by the locals to represent the children of the couple. This group of menhirs is locally known as ainining duka (breeding stones). In the past, these megalithic relics were likely associated with ancestral spirits or supernatural powers.