ABOUT THAT INDONESIAN PYRAMID CHRONOLOGY DEBATE
This is an intriguing story that many of you, including T.S. and E.G. spotted, so in thanking them for sharing it we're actually thanking all the rest of you who did as well. In fact, this story, it is safe to say, has been percolating in my in-boxes for the last couple of weeks, and I've been sort of waiting for a version of it to come along which I think highlights the basic philosophical problems of modern (western) archaeology, historiography, and chronology. The story concerns that large pyramid in Gunung Padang, Indonesia, and it's well worth pondering how western historians, archaeologists, and other academics are dealing with it:
The claim for the pyramid is being made by an Indonesian archaeologist, who is arguing that a certain layer of the structure is quite quite old and clearly worked, showing signs of being dressed, and fitted:
While Guinness World Records officially lists the Djoser Step pyramid in Egypt as the world’s oldest pyramid (around 2,630 BC), one paper published in October claimed a layer of the Gunung Padang pyramid in Indonesia was constructed as far back as 25,000 BC – though there has since been doubts as to whether the structure was ever man-made at all.
In research led by Danny Hilman Natawidjaja of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, and published in the journal Archaeological Prospection, the academics write that “the pyramid’s core consists of meticulously sculpted massive andesite lava” and that the “oldest construction” element of the pyramid “likely originated as a natural lava hill before being sculpted and then architecturally enveloped”.
They write: “This study sheds light on advanced masonry skills dating back to the last glacial period. This finding challenges the conventional belief that human civilisation and the development of advanced construction techniques emerged only … with the advent of agriculture approximately 11,000 years ago.
Note that the Indonesians are not maintaining that the pyramid was "not man-made" but rather - heresy of heresies to the modern western quackademic chronology - that it is far older, and showing signs of skill that only developed "much later," according to that same quackademic narrative. In fact, the Indonesians are maintaining something far more important, namely, that in certain regions of the world, the presence of complex megalithic structures can only mean that the people who built them were not following yet another dictate of the quackademic chronology in that they did not stop hunting and gathering, and then started argriculture, and only then decided it was much better to live in cities, build big buildings, and so on:
“Evidence from Gunung Padang and other sites, such as Gobekli Tepe [in Turkey], suggests that advanced construction practices were already present when agriculture had, perhaps, not yet been invented.”
Note the implicit bow to that quackademic narrative in the bow to the idea that agriculture "had, perhaps, not yet been invented." or perhaps was organized very differently, or perhaps that foot was being imported, or "hunting and gathering" were organized on an "industrial scale". Who knows for certain? Answer (if one is honest): no one.
Needless to say, quackademia has weighed in with the usual "counter-'arguments'", and these, I'm afraid I must say, as they stand, are really a wondrous thing to behold; they remind me in a way of the sort of "reasoning" one encounters in that bastion of British brainpower, Philomena Cunk:
“Material rolling down a hill is going to, on average, orient itself,” he said, adding that there’s no evidence of “working or anything to indicate that it’s man-made”.
Meanwhile, Bill Farley, an archaeologist at Southern Connecticut State University, is credited as saying “the 27,000-year-old soil samples from Gunung Padang, although accurately dated, do not carry hallmarks of human activity, such as charcoal or bone fragments”.
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