the world’s oldest pyramid: While Guinness World Records officially lists the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Egypt as the world’s oldest pyramid (around 2630 BC), an article published in October claims that a layer of the Gunung Padang Pyramid Built in 25,000 BC, Indonesia is the world’s oldest pyramid, although there have been doubts since then whether the structure was man-made at all.
In a study led by Danny Hillman Natavijaja of the Indonesian Institute of Science and published in the journal Archaeological Prospection, the academics write that “the core of the pyramid was carefully carved from massive andesitic lava” and that “the oldest structure of the ‘pyramid element’ probably predates the sculpture. The construction and then the architectural cover originated as a natural lava hill.
“This study sheds light on advanced stonemasonry skills dating back to the last ice age,” they write. This finding challenges the conventional belief that human civilization and the development of advanced construction techniques emerged only … with the advent of agriculture approximately 11,000 years ago.
“Evidence from Gunung Padang and other sites, such as Gobekli Tepe [in Turkey], suggests that advanced construction practices already existed when agriculture had perhaps not yet been invented.”
The academics also claim that the builders “must have had considerable stone-masonry capabilities”, but a British archaeologist dismissed the paper, saying he was “surprised [that] it was published as it is”.
Flint Dibble, of Cardiff University, told Nature that there was no clear evidence that the buried layers were man-made.
“Materials landing on a hill will orient themselves on average,” he said.
Meanwhile, “27,000-year-old soil samples from Gunung Padang, although accurately dated, do not contain signs of human activity, such as charcoal or bone fragments,” says Bill Farley, an archaeologist at Southern Connecticut State University.
Natawidjaja responded to this criticism by saying, “We are open to researchers around the world who want to come to Indonesia and do some research programs at Gunung Padang,” while the joint editor of Archaeological Explorations confirmed that research in The case has started.