Regional collections INDONESIA, THE NEAR EAST & AFRICA

The Natural History Museum Basel has extensive rock- and fossil collections, which were collected in Indonesia, the Near East and North Africa. They comprise volcanic, igneous and metamorphic rocks, sediments minerals, ores and coal, and macro and microfossils.

During the early 1900ies the former Basel professors August Tobler and Max Mühlberg were heavily engaged in exploration studies for natural resources in Indonesia. Being part of the exploration campaigns by the former Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (today Royal Dutch Shell), they travelled to the Dutch East Indies in search for natural resources and crude oil. Through their professional relationship with the Dutch petroleum industry, the two pioneers have put together large collections of geological study- and research materials from Indonesia – also for teaching purposes. In addition, numerous Dutch research colleagues from those times deposited also their study materials in Basel, making the collections even more diverse.

The Indonesia collection mainly focuses on the areas of Jambi, Palembang on Sumatra, Java and the Kutai basin in Kalimantan (Borneo).

Outstanding collections come from the numerous islands of the Indonesian archipelago, such as Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), Ceram, Kai, Flores, Madura, Siberut, Sumba, Sumbawa and Timor.

The North African collections contain mainly fossils from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The collections from the Near East include objects from Persia, Syria, Arabia and Oman.