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An aerial photograph taken in 1984 near Palembang (in what is now Sriwijaya Kingdom Archaeological Park) revealed the remnants of ancient man-made canals, moats, ponds, and artificial islands, suggesting the location of Srivijaya's urban centre.Several artefacts such as fragments of inscriptions, Buddhist statues, beads, pottery and Chinese ceramics were found, confirming that the area had, at one time, dense human habitation.; literally: "Giant Harbour", this is probably a testament of its history as once a great port.By that time, Srivijayan Mandala seems to be consists of the federation or an alliance of city-states, spanned from Java to Sumatra and Malay Peninsula, connected with trade connection cemented with political allegiance.By that time Srivijayan trading centers remains in Palembang, and to further extent also includes ports of Jambi, Kedah and Chaiya; while its political, religious and ceremonial center was established in Central Java.The Chinese called it Sanfoqi or Che-li-fo-che (Shilifoshi), and there was an even older kingdom of Kantoli, which could be considered the predecessor of Srivijaya.
The archaeological site includes eight excavated temple sanctuaries and covers about 12 square kilometers, stretches 7.5 kilometers along the Batang Hari River, 80 menapos or mounds of temple ruins, are not yet restored.
The Buddhist pilgrim Yijing's account is especially important on describing Srivijaya, when he visited the kingdom in 671 CE for six months.
The 7th-century siddhayatra inscriptions discovered in Palembang and Bangka island are also vital primary historical sources.
However, some scholars believe that Chaiya probably comes from Sri Vijaya. Some Thai historians argue it was the capital of Srivijaya itself, In the second half of the eighth century, the capital of Srivijayan Mandala seems to be relocated and reestablished in Central Java, in the splendid court of Medang Mataram located somewhere in fertile Kedu and Kewu Plain, in the same location of the majestic Borobudur, Manjusrigrha and Prambanan monuments.
This unique period is known as the Srivijayan episode in Central Java, when the monarch of Sailendras rose to become the Maharaja of Srivijaya.