Experts have slammed one of the year’s most sensational science stories. Researchers claimed last month that the Gunung Padang site in Indonesia is the world’s most ancient pyramid, constructed 25,000 years ago. That would make it more than double the age of Egypt’s pyramids and even older than Stonehenge. If true, it suggests that advanced construction practices existed when agriculture had not been invented.
However, many archaeologists have slammed the research by a team led by Danny Hilman Natawidjaja of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, published in the journal Archaeological Prospection in October. The paper’s bold claims about the site in West Java have raised eyebrows, triggering an investigation by the journal’s ethics team.
Natawidjaja’s team used various geophysical techniques – electrical resistivity tomography, seismic refraction tomography, ground penetrating radar, and magnetic surveys – to survey the area around the site. They also examined the site’s mudstone layers and analyzed sedimentary rocks to determine its age.
The conclusions: They say that different pyramid sections have been deliberately buried with substantial soil fills, indicating that the structure was built over time. They claim that the uppermost section of the pyramid, Unit 3, was buried between 7900 and 6100 BCE. They also argue that the pyramid was surrounded by a moat filled with salt and sand, proving it is an artificial construction.
Other researchers have slammed the study, saying it is based on a faulty methodology and skewed data. The team, which includes geologists and geophysicists, has also been accused of plagiarizing and fabricating findings from other sites in the area.
This isn’t the first time that a claim about a pyramid has been challenged. A controversial English revisionist of biblical and Egyptian history, Ralph Ellis, claimed in 1932 that Mount Sinai was the Great Pyramid. American writer Edgar Cayce revealed that refugees from Atlantis built the pyramids. Several self-published authors have recently promoted claims about pyramids in the Bermuda Triangle and Antarctica. But the vast majority of such speculations have been debunked by mainstream scientists.