Watching Menhirs in Maek Village

In the megalithic era, people were able to make and develop buildings and tools made of large stones. The buildings of this era are characterized by large stone monuments. This building is generally used as a place of worship of ancestral spirits (animism).
Robert von Heine Geldern (1885 – 1968) a prehistoric expert, archaeologist and ethnologist from Austria who researched prehistoric times in Indonesia, classifies the megalithic tradition into the old megalithic tradition (2500 – 1500 BC) and the young megalithic (1000 BC – 1 AD). The old megalithic tradition bequeaths large buildings such as menhir, punden terraces and static statues. At this time the community was familiar with the procedures for raising livestock and farming in mutual cooperation. Meanwhile, during the younger megalithic era, the stone tombs, dolmen, waruga, sarcophagi and dynamic statues were inherited.

In the village of Maek (Mahat) located in Bukit Barisan District, Limapuluh Kota District, there are various sites – the largest menhir sites in Indonesia. The Menhir sites include Padang Ilalang site, Bawah Parit site, Batu Koto Gadang site, Ronah Site, Ampang Gadang Site, Aur Duri Site, Sopan Gadang Site and Nenan Site. There are various styles of menhir in the form of animals, carved swords or horns. The unique thing is that each menhir always faces northeast (towards Mount Sago). People at that time believed that the spirits buried under it would move back and forth from Mount Sago and back to it.
The menhir site most frequently visited by tourists is the Bawah Parit site in Koto Tinggi hamlet. There are 72 menhirs of various shapes and sizes. Menhirs that are carved and large in size belong to the ruler or leader. While the small and innocent belong to the common people. The carvings are on both sides but some are carved around the menhirs. According to archaeologists, Menhir Bawah Parit belongs to the Pisang tribe (Minangkabau sub-tribe) and holds a lot of historical value about the origins of the ancestral civilization of the Minangkabau people. Based on Ministerial Regulation Number PM.86/PW.007/MKP/2011, this archaeological remains is designated as a cultural heritage site in Indonesia which is managed by the Batusangkar Archaeological Heritage Research Agency. Menhirs in the village of Maek are similar to menhirs in England, Ireland and France.

Source : Complex of menhir.kompas.id.

Source : id.min.wikipedia.org.photo

Source: carved menhirs.raunholic.com.photo

To get to the location, it took about an hour and a half to drive, from downtown Payakumbuh to get there. Passing a number of villages, including Taeh, Suliki, Andiang, Banja Loweh, and Simun. Travel through settlements, fields and hills, with small winding roads. But the natural beauty along the way, makes the journey seem short.


In the records of the West Sumatra Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency (Badan Pelestarian Cagar Budaya), the largest menhirs are in Limapuluh Kota Regency, to be precise, in Tanah Longih Hamlet, Sungai Rimbang Village, Suliki sub-district. The location is still in the same direction as the location of the menhirs in Maek village. From the results of measurements carried out by the West Sumatra Badan Pelestarian Cagar Budaya in 2017, the menhir were 4.8 meters high above the ground. It reaches 70 to 90 centimeters in width, with a thickness of 70 to 80 centimeters. The diameter is the circle of the hands of two adults.
This menhir looks plain without any decorations, writings, or reliefs. It’s just that there was found a small hole in the waist of the menhir. The back is flat, while the top is slightly conical or tapered.

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