via ArcheoThoughts, the Archaeology Podcast Network and YouTube: Posting additional stories from archaeologists in the web space reacting to the infamous paper in Archaeological Prospection about Gunung Padang, which makes unsubstantiated claims that the mountain is a 24,000-year-old pyramid.
Sculpted pyramid core, or natural andesite outcrop?
The authors claim that “The pyramid’s core consists of meticulously sculpted massive andesite lava (Unit 4), enveloped by layers of rock constructions (Unit 3, Unit 2 and Unit 1).” This core, according to them, is the oldest component of the pyramid. In other words, they claim that around twenty four thousand years ago, people sculpted a naturally occurring volcanic hill into a pyramid.
The first issue with this claim is that no evidence is presented of any sculpting of the stone core of the hill. The authors don’t present tool marks, and they don’t claim to have recovered any archaeological tools from the site. If I am told of “meticulous sculpting”, I am expecting it to be obvious even visually, but I would expect it to be measurable in some way.
The second problem is that this kind of andesite outcrop is common in the region. Gunung Padang is surrounded by similar formations. A quick glance at the region in Google maps confirms that Gunung Padang is not an isolated phenomenon. Natawidjaja et al. make no effort to tell us why Gunung Padang is different from any of the surrounding andesite outcrops.
Presumably, the sculpting into a pyramid would have made it look different and remarkable. If so, we are not told in the latest article. Until there is a clear demonstration that Gunung Padang is not a natural volcanic hill in a region covered with volcanic hills, it is reasonable to think that it might be.