Gunung Padang Megalithic Site

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Gunung Padang site.
Gunung Padang site

Gunung Padang is a megalithic site located in Karyamukti village, Cianjur regency, West Java Province of Indonesia, 50 km southwest of the city of Cianjur or 6 kilometers from Lampegan station. It is the largest megalithic site in all of Southeastern Asia. The survey believes that Gunung Padang is built in 4 different eras.[1]

The existence of the site was mentioned in Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (ROD, "Report of the Department of Antiquities") in 1914. The Dutch historian N. J. Krom also mentioned it in 1949. Employees of the National Archeology Research Centre visited the site in 1979 for a study of its archaeology, history, and geology.

Located at 885 metres above sea level, the site covers a hill in a series of terraces bordered by retaining walls of stone that are accessed by about 400 successive andesite steps rising about 95 metres. It is covered with massive rectangular stones of volcanic origin. The Sundanese people consider the site sacred and believe it was the result of King Siliwangi's attempt to build a palace in one night. The asymmetric Punden Berundak faces northwest, to Mount Gede[2] and was constructed for the purpose of worship. It is located in a position that has been noted for its geomantic and astrological factors.[citation needed] Based on various dating techniques, the site was completed by 5000 BC and quite likely much earlier.[3] There are even preliminary indications that the hill site may itself be an ancient pyramid construction.[4]

The villages closest to the site are Cimanggu, Ciwangun and Cipanggulakan. Two possible routes to access the site are

In end of June 2014, Education and Culture Ministry stated that Gunung Padang Megalithic Site as National Site Area with 29 hectares area.[5]

2012 survey[edit]

A survey conducted in 2012 showed the following:[6][7]

Another survey used GSSI georadar, Multi-Channel SuperSting R-8 and Geomagnet GEM-Ovenhausser found that[8]

2013 survey[edit]

The structure beyond the Mount Padang structure is older than the upper structure. At a depth of 1-4.5 meters by Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Dating (BETA) the older (below) structure was built in 4,500 BC, and the upper structure around 500 BC. At a 4.5 meter depth there are stones with specie consisting of 45 percent ferrum, 15 percent clay, and the rest silica. The surveyor found a 10 centimetre steel fraction.[10]

The Independent Research Integrated Mount Padang Team, facilitated by the Special Staff of President for Social Assistance and Disaster, found man-made stone structures beneath the ancient site of Mount Padang, at Karyamukti Village, the District of Campaka, Cianjur Regency. According to the result of the survey of team that did an archaeological excavation and geoelectric surveys on the eastern slopes of the hill in March 2013, the structure of column andesite stone was found with near horizontal position elongated east-west.[citation needed]

"From the horizontal position of the column andesite rocks and its line direction, we can conclude with certainty that the column stones or" columnar joints "is not in a natural condition," said Danny H. Natawidjaja, Coordinator of The Independent Research Integrated Mount Padang Team in Jakarta, Tuesday (2/4). An archaeological team led by Ali Akbar from the University of Indonesia, in its excavations, found evidence to confirm the team's hypothesis that there are man-made structures in the basement of Mount Padang. The building structure is the same as with the structure of the stone terrace which has been unearthed and made cultural sites on the hill.

The excavation also found a filler material among the stones columns, as well as a stone column that had been shattered but styled and reassembled again with the filler material as an ancient cement. The ancient cement has also been found on canyon roads between porch steps one and two, as well as in drill core samples from a depth of 1–15 meters of drilling conducted by the team in 2012 and then on the site.

The geological team and also the coaches of the Indonesian Association of Geologists centre, Andang Bachtiar, discovered previously unknown facts about the site's composition. The cement material has a primary composition of 45% iron mineral and 41% mineral silica. The rest is 14% clay minerals with also a carbon element. "This is a good composition for strong cement adhesive, perhaps combining between the concepts of resin or modern strong adhesive made from silica materials and the use of concentration of the iron element which become as brick amplifiers," said Natawidjaja.

The high silica content indicates that the cement is not the result of weathering of the column andesite stone, which is surrounded by a poor of silica. Furthermore, the naturally occurring levels of iron, even in the rocks at the ore mineral mining, is generally not more than 5%, so iron levels in "Gunung Padang cement" is many times higher than that of its natural environment. Therefore it can be concluded that material which is laid between the columns' andesite stones is in fact a man-made grout. This indicates the technology of that time likely included some form of metallurgy. One common technique to obtain a high concentration of iron is to carry out a combustion process with broken rocks under a very high temperatures, similar to the making of bricks, which burns caolinite and illite clays to produce a high concentration of iron in the brick, explained Andang.

Indications of ancient metallurgical technology is further strengthened by the findings of a lump of metal material about 10 inches (25 cm) in size by the team of Ali Akbar at a depth of 1 meter on the eastern slopes of Mount Padang. The rusty metal material possessed a rough surface with a hollow-small cavity on the surface. Presumably this material was a metal dough residue ("slug") that mixed with carbon material from the combustion of wood, coal, or other fuel. Cavities are likely to occur as a result of the release of CO2 during burning. The team will conduct further laboratory analysis to investigate.

The results of radiometric analysis of the content of the carbon element in some samples of cement in a drill core from a depth of 5–15 meters which was conducted in 2012 at the prestigious Laboratory, BETALAB, of Miami, USA in mid-2012 indicates an age ranging between 13,000 and 23,000 years BP. Previously, in the results of carbon dating carried out in the BATAN laboratory, the dominant quartz sand that fills the voids between the andesite columns at a depth of 8–10 meters below the five terraces also showed the same age range, of about 13,000 years BP.

Data from drilling conducted by Andang Bachtiar and microscopic analyzes of rocks from drill core samples were carried out by Andri Subandrio, a volcanic rock geologist of the Petrology Laboratory ITB. This confirmed that the high-resistivity body rock is andesite lava rock, the same rock type as that of the column of the Mount Padang site.[citation needed]

Another discovery of the petrological analysis is the finding of many microfissures, or microscopic cracks, in the thin section of andesite stone columns that appear non-natural because the cracks cut the stone's constituent mineral crystals.

Natawidjaja stated that Mount Padang has same historic significance as Borobudur if not greater, because it represents a potentially sizeable breakthrough in this century's understanding of "the cradle of civilizations" and a proof of the great monuments of the oldest civilizations in their glory destroyed by catastrophe many thousands of years ago in the prehistory of Indonesia. Like the site of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, its scientific documentations push back the boundaries of modern anthropological understanding significantly.

"[It] is not impossible anymore if Indonesia as [an] archipelago nation has [a] civilization as advanced as the ancient Egyptian civilization, even...much older", said Natawidjaja.[11]

The latest research found that the site consists of 4 layers, the first of which dated to 600 years BC, the second to 4,900 years BC, and the third and the fourth layers of which are still being researched by the Terpadu Mandiri (Indonesian Unified) Research Team,[12] though several indicators point to earlier still as noted above.

Local concerns[edit]

In September, 2013, some people upset by the tomography research beat 3 researchers, apparently out of concern that soil coring would injure the site or even contribute to risks of a landslide.[13]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°57′S 107°01′E / 6.950°S 107.017°E / -6.950; 107.017