A team of specialists has just revealed new interpretations about the nature of a famous Indonesian hill: Gunung Padang. According to the results of their analyses, the natural mound would in fact be the fruit of the work of human builders; a building which was built for religious purposes.
After Egypt and China, Indonesia could now also be emblematic of one of the most enigmatic monuments in the world: the pyramid. One of them has just been discovered under a hill on the Asian archipelago by specialists. In addition, it seems to be the oldest ever unearthed. This is what scientists have just revealed at a conference held as part of the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
For several years, researchers devoted themselves to the study of a ‘hill’ culminating at an altitude of almost 3000 feet, about 30 miles southwest of the city of Cianjur: Gunung Padang. The site is surmounted by a remarkable megalithic site, the largest in Southeast Asia. It has been known to the Western world since it was discovered by Dutch settlers in the early 20th century.
But the multitude of stones that surround the top of the mound are, according to the revelations of scientists, only the tip of the iceberg. ‘The structures are not only superficial, but rooted deeper,’ say the Indonesian researchers.
A much larger structure than expected
‘Our work shows that the structure does not only cover the top of the hill but also covers the slopes, which is [thus] an approximate area of at least 15 hectares,’ the specialists continue.
To advance such claims, the team relies on solid scientific evidence. The researchers have implemented a combination of advanced geophysical methods, such as ground penetrating radar, or seismic tomography, to probe the bowels of the hill. Drilling and soil analysis also allowed them to clarify their interpretations.
‘What was once considered a simple surface construction actually goes quite deep, and it's a huge structure,’ said Andang Bachtiar, independent geologist and drilling operations manager.
A ‘huge structure’ built over the course of history, due to the superposition of countless layers of stone. A few feet below the surface hides a set of mineral columns. At a still lower level, there are a series of cavities and chambers, about 50 feet deep, that the geophysicists detected.
A not-so-natural form
But despite this accumulation of human-made achievements, it is also the form of the whole that pushed the scientists to this audacious interpretation. According to them, the lengthening of the structure, added to the half-moon shape of its front part, are several signs of the religious functions of the building. ‘This is a temple with no equivalent [anywhere in the world],’ geophysicist Danny Hilman Natawidjaja told Live Science.
Even if they remain controversial within the scientific community, these interpretations could, if they are confirmed, reveal one of the oldest pyramids in the world. In fact, carbon-14 dating makes it possible to locate the origins of the third stratum of the building, which is the deepest, at between 9,500 and 28,000 years old.
This is a fairly wide range, but which confirms in any case the words already issued in 2013 by Danny Hilman Natawidjaja. ‘People think that prehistory was a primitive [period], but this monument proves that this is false.’ Whether they are Egyptian, Chinese or Indonesian, the pyramids have definitely not finished to upset our historical certainties.