When most people think of pyramids, they think of Egypt. These iconic structures rise above the sand and remind viewers of a bygone era. However, other ancient cultures also built pyramid structures, including the Mayans. But for the oldest pyramid structure, an underground example called Gunung Padang may win the prize.
Gunung Padang, located in West Java, Indonesia, is a pyramid-shaped structure with pillars and other structures that were formed over thousands of years from natural volcanic rock. Recent estimates published in Archeological Prospection suggest that the construction of Gunung Padang began at least 16,000 years ago. Indonesia's hills are shaped like pandan berndak or step pyramids. It is made up of ancient lava cores that have formed into terraces over thousands of years, one rectangular and four trapezoidal. Each terrace is surrounded by columns of volcanic rock. The central staircase has 370 steps.
Geologists and archaeologists have spent years trying to understand the history of the Earth's pyramids. At its base is a layer of rock made up of lava that was once released during a volcanic explosion. The new study posits a period between 25,000 BC and 14,000 BC. We added layers to form the structure. After a long hiatus, construction began between 7900 and 6100 BC. Between 6000 and 5500 BC rock columns and gravel-rich soil was added also leading to the completion of the top soil and terraces.
However, these intermediate sections turned out to be more architecturally complex than previously assumed. Seismic testing of the mound revealed interior rooms and passageways with high ceilings and ample space. These chambers are similar to those in other megalithic structures and are the next focus for researchers. The plan is to drill down and lower a small camera to investigate.