Indonesian Pyramid: 27,000 Year Old Sparks Heated Debate

A recent publication in the Archaeological Prospection journal has thrust the megalithic site of Gunung Padang in West Java into the limelight. The contentious paper, authored by a team of Indonesian researchers, boldly claims that the buried rock formations at this ancient site constitute a colossal man-made pyramid dating back a staggering 27,000 years.

Unearthing the Controversy

The rocks at Gunung Padang in West Java appear to be intricately carved by hand. ( Source )

While the assertions presented in the study are not entirely novel, fresh evidence, including comprehensive dating tests, attempts to bolster the claim. However, the mainstream scientific community has vehemently rejected the thesis, challenging the idea of a pyramid-building society in Indonesia or anywhere else predating the last Ice Age.

Layers of Mystery: The Indonesian Pyramid Hypothesis

Gunung Padang holds the distinction of being the most extensive megalithic site in Southeastern Asia. ( Source )

The researchers, led by Dr. Danny Hilman Natawidjaja from Indonesia’s Research Center for Natural Disasters, propose that four layers of megalithic stone structures were meticulously built over millennia atop the extinct Gunung Padang volcano in West Java.

Debunking the Deep Structures

Geologists attribute the numerous rocks at Gunung Padang, which seem to be of human origin, to naturally occurring formations. ( Source )

While the top layers showcase intentional construction, the deeper structures face scrutiny. Critics argue these are natural rock formations shaped by past volcanic activity rather than the foundation of an Indonesian pyramid. This challenges the conventional belief that advanced stone builders existed in Indonesia prior to ancient civilizations in Egypt and Turkey.

Archaeological Dissent

Dr. Lutfi Yondri, an archaeologist and colleague of Dr. Natawidjaja, dismisses the idea, citing evidence of human habitation in West Java caves only between 12,000 and 6,000 years ago. This dismissive attitude is echoed by Indonesian archaeologists who, in 2018, circulated a petition condemning Dr. Natawidjaja’s research.

International Skepticism and Academic Backlash

The international scientific community mirrors local skepticism. Dr. Flint Dibble from Cardiff University questions the monumental stone builders’ existence in Indonesia circa 25,000 BC, highlighting the lack of supporting evidence.

Gunung Padang: A Geological Marvel or Man-Made Enigma?

Perched on an ancient volcano, Gunung Padang comprises five stepped stone terraces, retaining walls, and connecting staircases. Dr. Natawidjaja’s team, employing ground-penetrating radar and carbon dating, identifies four rock formation layers displaying signs of human modification.

Nature’s Hand or Human Precision?

Dr. Dibble contends that buried rock formations could result from natural processes like erosion, while Natawidjaja insists the precisely arranged, massive stones defy explanations of natural transportation over significant distances.

Civilization’s Dawn in Dispute

Dr. Bill Farley of Southern Connecticut State University challenges the study, asserting it lacks evidence of advanced civilizations during the last Ice Age. Traditional archaeological records suggest hunter-gatherer societies existed before 12,000 years ago, casting doubt on attributing the alleged pyramidal structure at Gunung Padang to an ancient culture.

Scientific Heresy or Healthy Debate?

Responding to the controversy, Wiley, the publisher of Archaeological Prospection, initiates an investigation into Dr. Natawidjaja’s team’s work. While critics question the necessity of such scrutiny, the scientific community should ideally welcome diverse theories without resorting to personal or professional attacks.

Credentials and Critique

Despite the uproar, it’s crucial to note Dr. Natawidjaja’s impeccable credentials, including a Ph.D. from CalTech and a senior geologist role at the Indonesian Center for Geotechnical Research.


In the realm of ancient mysteries, the Indonesian pyramid hypothesis at Gunung Padang stands as a testament to the clash between unconventional theories and established beliefs. The investigation into Dr. Natawidjaja’s work should serve as a reminder that scientific progress thrives on dialogue and open-minded exploration.

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