ANN/The Straits Times
Mon, November 13, 2023
A pyramid hidden inside a hill in West Java could be the oldest in the world.
This was discovered by an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists, geophysicists and geologists – which includes corresponding author Danny Hilman Natawidjaj from the National Agency for Research and Innovation (BRIN) – in on paper which was published in the Interdisciplinary Archaeological Journal in October Archaeological prospecting.
Gunung Padang, also known as “Mountain of Enlightenment”, is located on top of an extinct volcano and is considered a sacred place by the locals. In 1998, Gunung Padang was declared a national cultural heritage.
Over the years there has been disagreement among scientists about the nature of the hill. Some claimed it was a man-made pyramid, while others said it was a natural geological formation.
Danny and the team discovered that Gunung Padang was made mostly by human hands and found evidence that the structure was built in stages – thousands of years apart.
The oldest pyramid structure likely “formed as a natural lava mound before being shaped and then architecturally enveloped” between 25,000 BC and 14,000 BC, according to the team. This makes Gunung Padang at least 16,000 years old.
According to the study, the pyramid was completed between 2000 BC and 1100 BC.
Field research of Gunung Padang began in October 2011 and ended in October 2014, the paper said.
The team, which documented the exploration of the site, drilled the center of the mound, dug trenches and took soil samples, among other things. This helped researchers to penetrate the first layers of Gunung Padang, more than 30 meters below its surface.
“This study strongly suggests that Gunung Padang is not a natural hill, but a pyramid-like structure,” the researchers said in the paper.
The team also found evidence of a “great cavity”, possibly a hidden chamber, inside the pyramid.
“Gunung Padang represents a remarkable testament as it is potentially the oldest pyramid in the world,” the team said.