''People think the prehistoric age was primitive, but this monument proves that wrong.''
Indonesia’s Gunung Padang: The World’s Oldest Pyramid-Like Structure?
Indonesia is home to Gunung Padang, a massive hill covered in ancient stone columns that could potentially change our understanding of pyramid-building civilizations. Researchers believe that an extraordinarily old pyramid lies beneath this hill.
A Megalithic Site in Southeast Asia
Gunung Padang is considered the largest megalithic site in Southeast Asia. Initial tests suggest that the structure itself is incredibly ancient, with the pyramid beneath the hill believed to have been built in four distinct eras. The site was first mentioned in the “Report of the Department of Antiquities” in 1914 and again by a Dutch historian in 1949.
Uncovering the Ancient Structure
Recent scientific surveys have confirmed a large structure below the surface, a core stone site area, and the recovery of various man-made artifacts. A new study, presented at the AGU 2018 Fall Meeting in Washington, DC, proposes that Gunung Padang may be the oldest known pyramid-like structure on Earth.
Challenging Established Theories
A team of Indonesian scholars has conducted research over several years, arguing that Gunung Padang is one of the oldest structures in Southeast Asia and one of the earliest examples of pyramid-building. They believe that the ancient structure’s foundations can be traced back more than 10,000 years, with some suggesting it could be as old as 20,000 years.
If proven, this discovery would challenge current theories about the origins of human civilizations, which are generally believed to have begun after the last major Ice Age, around 11,500 BC. The existence of Gunung Padang would indicate that pyramid-building civilizations emerged thousands of years earlier than previously thought.
Multilayered Structure with Deep Roots
Researchers have analyzed Gunung Padang using ground-penetrating radar, seismic tomography, and archaeological excavations, concluding that it is an artificial structure with several layers built over consecutive prehistoric periods. According to the study, the first layer consists of rock columns, walls, and paths, while the second layer, previously misinterpreted as a natural geological formation, features intricate arrangements of columnar rocks that shape a matrix structure. The third layer contains large cavities and chambers, and the fourth layer is composed of ‘lava tongue’ basalt rock, believed to have been carved by human hands.
Dating the Layers
Preliminary radiocarbon dating suggests that the topmost layer is around 3,500 years old, the second layer is around 8,000 years old, and the third and fourth layers are between 9,500 and 28,000 years old. Geophysicist Danny Hilman Natawidjaja believes the ancient pyramid may have served as a religious structure, challenging the notion of prehistoric societies being primitive.
The paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, DC, has not yet been peer-reviewed.
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