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Giant Pyramid Buried in Indonesia Could Be Oldest in the World

Giant Pyramid Buried in Indonesia
A view of Gunung Padang, a giant pyramid buried in Indonesia. Credit: RaiyaniM / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Beneath an Indonesian hill, there’s a massive underground pyramid that’s much older than Stonehenge or the Giza Pyramids. This ancient wonder is Gunung Padang.

On the island of West Java, you’ll find a unique hill covered in old stone structures. Local people call it a ‘punden berundak,’ which means a stepped pyramid because of the terraces that go up to the top.

It’s a sacred place for them, and it could be one of the oldest man-made structures ever, as reported by Science Alert.

Archaeologists have only just begun exploring this site, but it’s already showing incredible signs of human innovation.

Gunung Padang might be the world’s oldest pyramid-like structure. It was built on top of a volcano that no longer erupts, long before agriculture or the kind of civilization we have today, according to Science Alert.

‘Large open chambers filled with unknowns’

New information from Indonesian scientists indicates that there might be big empty chambers inside filled with mysteries.

After a thorough study of Gunung Padang, which means ‘mountain of enlightenment’ in the local language, it appears that an ancient civilization carefully shaped the lava hill into a pyramid-like structure.

The site’s first radiocarbon dating shows that a civilization likely began constructing it during the last glacial period. That’s more than sixteen thousand years ago, and it might even go as far back as twenty-seven thousand years ago.

To give you an idea, Göbekli Tepe, a big stone site in modern-day Turkey, is thought to be the world’s oldest megalith, and it’s from around eleven thousand years ago, reported Science Alert.

‘Gunung Padang was built in complex and sophisticated stages’

The recent study on Gunung Padang comes after years of careful research.

From 2011 to 2015, a team of scientists, including archaeologists, geologists, and geophysicists, led by geologist Danny Hilman Natawidjaja at Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency, used various methods such as core drilling, ground-penetrating radars, and subsurface imaging to explore this historical site.

Natawidjaja and his team discovered that much like many megaliths from the past, Gunung Padang was built in intricate and advanced stages, with the deepest part going down thirty meters.

The central part of the structure was likely constructed between 25,000 and 14,000 BCE, but it was then left untouched for many thousands of years.

Construction was begun around 7900 to 6100 BCE. During this time,  the pyramid’s core mound was expanded using rock columns and gravel soils. Further construction happened between 6000 and 5500 BCE.

Moreover, it appears that during this period, the builders intentionally buried or built over older parts of the site, as reported by Science Alert.

The last builders of the pyramid came around 2000 to 1100 BCE. They added topsoil and stone terraces, which give it the stepped pyramid appearance known as “punden berundak.” This is the part that is mostly visible today.

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