Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Innovation in Education, Science, and Culture, ICIESC 2023, 24 October 2023, Medan, Indonesia

Research Article

Tracing Early Christianity at the Bongal Site, Central Tapanuli District, North Sumatra

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  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.4108/eai.24-10-2023.2342302,
        author={Rosmaida  Sinaga and Ichwan  Azhari and Lister Eva Simangunsong and Pulung  Sumantri},
        title={Tracing Early Christianity at the Bongal Site, Central Tapanuli District, North Sumatra},
        proceedings={Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Innovation in Education, Science, and Culture, ICIESC 2023, 24 October 2023, Medan, Indonesia},
        publisher={EAI},
        proceedings_a={ICIESC},
        year={2024},
        month={1},
        keywords={christianity bongal site central tapanuli},
        doi={10.4108/eai.24-10-2023.2342302}
    }
    
  • Rosmaida Sinaga
    Ichwan Azhari
    Lister Eva Simangunsong
    Pulung Sumantri
    Year: 2024
    Tracing Early Christianity at the Bongal Site, Central Tapanuli District, North Sumatra
    ICIESC
    EAI
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.24-10-2023.2342302
Rosmaida Sinaga1,*, Ichwan Azhari1, Lister Eva Simangunsong1, Pulung Sumantri2
  • 1: Department of History Education, Universitas Negeri Medan
  • 2: Department of History Education, Universitas Islam Sumatera Utara
*Contact email: rosmaidasinagasejarah@gmail.com

Abstract

The history of the spread of ancient Christianity in the 4-5th century AD to Sumatra is still a mystery among historians. Written sources mention that the Nestorian church had developed as far as Fansur or Barus on the west coast of Sumatra. This research aims to uncover traces of the arrival of ancient Christianity in the early AD through the discovery of various Christian artifacts at the Bongal Site. Some of the early Byzantine-era archaeological artifacts recovered in this research include cross-bearing rings, Roman beads, cross-carved stones, and Byzantine liturgy spoons. Based on the comparative analysis that has been carried out, it appears that there are similarities between the findings of Christian artifacts at the Bongal Site and the Byzantine and Roman Empire Christian artifacts in the early AD. From these findings, Christianity is estimated to have reached the west coast of Sumatra in the 4th and 5th centuries AD.