via Archaeological Prospection, 20 October 2023: A controversial new paper on Gunung Padang purpots it to be 25,000 years old, but while the scientific methods applied appear to be legitimate, the conclusions should be met with skepticism despite the sensational media headlines. The reliance on radiocarbon dating of “organic soil” is not indicative of human activity compared to residues in pottery or charcoal from hearths, which are absent from the site. Unlike many other Indonesian megalithic sites, the lack of direct evidence of human presence, like burials or habitation remains, casts doubt on the interpretation of Gunung Padang as a man-made structure. A really good and recent breakdown of the arguments over Gunung Padang can be found here. I’ve also posted a Xitter thread by Bill Farley below explaining why this radiocarbon dating paper is so dishonest about its conclusions. A good analogy is saying scientists have dated the soil underneath the Eiffel Tower, and concluded that the tower is 20,000 years old!
The multidisciplinary study of Gunung Padang has revealed compelling evidence of a complex and sophisticated megalithic site. Correlations between rock stratifications observed through surface exposures, trenching and core logs, combined with GPR facies, ERT layers, and seismic tomograms, demonstrate the presence of multi-layer constructions spanning approximately 20–30 m. Notably, a high-resistive anomaly in electric resistivity tomography aligns with a low-velocity anomaly detected in seismic tomography, indicating the existence of hidden cavities or chambers within the site. Additionally, drilling operations revealed significant water loss, further supporting the presence of underground spaces. Radiocarbon dating of organic soils from the structures uncovered multiple construction stages dating back thousands of years BCE, with the initial phase dating to the Palaeolithic era. These findings offer valuable insights into the construction history of Gunung Padang, shedding light on the engineering capabilities of ancient civilizations during the Palaeolithic era.
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