Archeologists have found that Indonesia’s pyramid, a 98-ft-deep ‘megalith’ submerged within a hill of lava rock, ranks as the world’s oldest pyramid.
Gunung Padang, first re-discovered by Dutch explorers in 1890, may in fact also be the oldest known man-made construction of its size, at least, according to the latest radiocarbon dating of the ancient site.
The tests place early construction of the pyramid, with its hundreds of steps chiseled from andesite lava, back to more than 16,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age.
That means Gunung Padang is likely to be over 10,000 years older than not just all of the great monuments and pyramids of Giza in Egypt, but also England’s legendary Stonehenge.
As with recent evidence that the Egyptian Sphynx was built with savvy use of wind erosion, the hunter-gathers who built Gunung Padang made an architectural virtue of working with, not against, their local conditions.
The Indonesian pyramid’s first and deepest layer, the researchers found, was carved from the site’s natural wealth of cooled lava flows.
Gunung Padang may even prove to be thousands of years older than the Göbekli Tepe ‘megalith’ discovered in Turkey, the last frontrunner for ‘world’s oldest.’
Scientists said the structure promises to upend the conventional wisdom on just how ‘primitive’ hunter-gather societies actually were — revealing the true ‘engineering capabilities of ancient civilizations.’
Scholars have spent over a century debating whether the underground structure known as Gunung Padang (which means ‘mountain of enlightenment’ in the local tongue) really constitutes a man-made pyramid, and not just a natural geological formation.
But between 2011 and 2015, geologist Danny Hilman Natawidjaja of Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency led a crew of archaeologists, geophysicists and geologists to literally get to the bottom of this ancient mystery.
Using ground penetrating radars to take subsurface images, core drilling and ‘trench’ excavation techniques, Natawidjaja and his fellow researchers were able to probe down into the very first layers of Gunung Padang — which lay over 9 stories (98 feet, or 30 meters) below its surface.