Gunung Padang is a megalithic site on the Indonesian island of Java, which was first surveyed in 1914 by the Dutch colonial authorities and published as Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (Report of the Department of Antiquities). A post-war Australian investigation concluded that the site was much older than previously believed. Now, with presidential support, local archaeologists are carrying out an extensive investigation of the site.
The site has recently been claimed as part of Atlantis. Evidence that the site contains hidden chambers prompted Graham Hancock to speculate whether it “Could it be the fabled “Hall of Records” of Atlantis?”(k).
A few years ago the late Arysio dos Santos was the leading proponent of Sundaland, which included Indonesia, being Atlantis. Now Danny Hilman Natawidjaja (DHN) an Indonesian geologist has made a similar claim in his Kindle ebook, Plato Never Lied: Atlantis Is in Indonesia. In it, Gunung Padang plays an important role. Mount Padang has also been claimed as the world’s oldest pyramid!
Nevertheless, a recent (May 2017) assault on Natawidjaja’s theories in an open letter(i) from Rebecca Bradley has laid bare the weaknesses in his claims.
DHN in an address to the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in 2018, said that radiocarbon dating suggests the top layer of the site could be up to 3,500 old years old, the second layer somewhere around 8,000 years old, and the third layer anywhere in the vicinity of 9,500 to 28,000 years old(j).
>One report that I thought rather interesting was that “aside from its age, is that during coring it was found that much of the buried structure was reinforced with a type of cement. This bonding agent, which has been used as a mortar and sort of glue in certain parts of the site, consists of 45% iron ore, 41% silica and 14% clay. It’s said that this mixture provides for a very strong and durable mortar base, and is surprising evidence of the level of sophistication of the building technique.”(l)<
Andrew Collins has now added an article(h). to his website that examines the preliminary claim that the lower levels at the site could be 12,000 years older than Gobekli Tepe. If confirmed, it will undoubtedly require some rewriting of history books. Do not lose sight of the fact that radiocarbon dating has limitations, being accurate for up to around 6,000 years with increasing unreliability up to perhaps 50,000 BC after which it is generally useless.
We now (Nov. ’14) have a report(e) that some type of ‘electrical device’ has been discovered at the site ‘made out of gold and copper and seems to resemble a primitive electrical capacitor.’ Until further information is available this claim must be treated with caution.
There are, however, dissenting voices as reported by journalist, Michael Bachelard(g), such as vulcanologist Sutikno Bronto, who says “Gunung Padang is simply the neck of a nearby volcano, not an ancient pyramid. Danny Hilman is not a vulcanologist. I am.” As for the carbon-dated cement between the stones, on which Hilman relies for his claims about the age of the site, Sutikno believes it is simply the byproduct of a natural weathering process, ”not man-made”. Other sceptics are even tougher. One archaeologist, who does not wish to be named since the President took such an interest, says the presidential taskforce is deluding itself. ”In the Pawon cave in Padalarang [about 45 kilometres from Gunung Padang], we found some human bones and tools made of bones about 9500 years ago, or about 7000 BCE. So, if at 7000 BCE our technology was only producing tools of bones, how can people from 20,000 BCE obtain the technology to build a pyramid?” the archaeologist asks.
Robert M. Schoch is a Yale scholar, geologist and palaeontologist. At the invitation of John Anthony West, he agreed to inspect the Sphinx and offer an opinion of the nature of the erosion to be seen on it. He found that the cause of this erosion was due to precipitation rather than windblown sand. As Egypt has had an arid climate for many thousands of years, Dr Schoch reached the conclusion that at least the front of the Sphinx had been carved between 7000 and 5000 BC, when the climate had been considerably wetter.
In the same book, Voices of the Rocks, he endorsed (p.123) the conclusions of Mary Settegast who claimed that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reference to the Magdalenian culture that inhabited the coastal regions of the Western Mediterranean during the 9th millennium BC. Schoch devotes a chapter to the subject of Atlantis and interestingly lists (p.87) a number of sites to which the Greeks applied the appellation ‘Pillars of Heracles’ apart from the Strait of Gibraltar.
In his Voyages of the Pyramid Builders, he reiterates his conviction “that Plato’s story is, at least in part, a fictionalized account of a great Mediterranean war at a time of intense climatic change between the tenth
and eighth millennia BC.” A highly critical review of Schoch’s Book can be read online(n).
This 1990 declaration regarding the Sphinx generated an international reputation for Schoch. Such a controversial conclusion was obviously greeted warmly by the supporters of the 9,000-year-old date for Atlantis allegedly given by the Egyptian priests to Solon. This accidental intervention by Schoch in the debate regarding the dating of Atlantis has unfortunately done nothing to resolve the issue. Fierce debate continues regarding the date of the Sphinx. However, there appears to be a gradual acceptance of Schoch’s views by other professional geologists such as David Coxhill. Another geologist, Colin Reader, while not accepting all of Schoch’s conclusions, believes that the Sphinx predates King Khufu, the father of Khafre, who has been traditionally accepted as the builder of the Sphinx, with the monument bearing his image>(v)(w)(x).<
It appears that Schoch’s experiences regarding the Sphinx have whetted Schoch’s appetite for prehistory as he has now written a further book, again with R.A. McNally about the origins of the pyramid builders. Unfortunately, he includes a reference to Ireland’s Newgrange as a form of ‘pyramid building’, an idea I reject, since it shares neither form nor function with the Egyptian pyramids. Dr Greg Little has written a very critical review of this book.
Schoch seems to be venturing further and further from his natural comfort zone of geology. In 2007, he wrote an article on Telepathy(d) and was later due to address the Electric Universe Conference in Las Vegas in 2012(c) and deliver a paper entitled The Catastrophic Termination of the Last Ice Age. In it, he will claim that that around 10,000 BC the Earth underwent ‘dramatic catastrophic changes’ as a result of ‘our unstable Sun erupting at the end of the last Ice Age, melting the extensive glaciers and triggering climate warming. The full paper should be an interesting read. He continues to argue against the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis(r).
His retreat from conventional science may be now complete as he delves into the strange world of lycanthropy (the study of werewolves)(o).
Schoch’s work is now promoted through his own website(b), which includes a wide range of articles. On it, both he and his associate, Colette Dowell, have been very critical of the Bosnian pyramid claims of Semir Osmanagic following a visit there in 2006. However, in what appears to be an article(l) written in 2011 or 2012, Osmanagic responds with scathing criticism of Schoch’s work.
Schoch has now turned his attention to the emergence and demise of very early civilisations, before that of dynastic Egypt or Sumeria. When he combined his early date for the Sphinx with other discoveries such as that of Nabta Playa and Göbekli Tepe and Gunung Padang(m), he concluded that the origins of civilisation go back much further than generally accepted. He then looked at the bigger and perhaps more important question of the cause of their collapse. In a 2009 special edition (N0.8) of New Dawn magazine, he speculated on the possibility that the ending of such early civilisations was caused by the earth’s encounter with one or more asteroids or comets.
In his book(f), Forgotten Civilization, Schoch claims that coronal mass ejections from the sun around 9700 BC devastated our planet with electrical discharges, the triggering of seismic and volcanic activity as well as ending the Ice Age with its consequent floods. All this ‘eradicated the civilisation of the time and set humanity back thousands of years, only to re-emerge around 3500 BC with scattered memories and nascent abilities.’ In an article written(g) in March 2012, Schoch wrote about the ‘Carrington Event’ of 1859 which resulted from a massive solar event that year.
Schoch’s paper had the somewhat disturbing title of ‘Death Star’ and perhaps even more unsettling was the revelation in March 2019 that evidence of at least three major solar ‘proton attacks’ over the past 3,000 years. The suggestion being that these episodes are to be expected with some degree of regularity, which may create ever-increasing disruption as our dependency on electricity expands. The recent report(q) indicates that the most powerful event identified so far took place around 610 BC. Without power grids to damage at the time, we are unaware of what effect it had on the peoples of that time and I would hope that a review of the literature of that era might reveal some corroboration.
A video clip is from his recent Las Vegas lecture is now available on YouTube(h). His talk is based on an article(i) in the July-August edition of New Dawn magazine, which is now available online and will play a large part in his Forgotten Civilization. He highlights some fascinating similarities between the Rongorongo script of Easter Island, the Nasca petroglyphs and the plasma figures of Dr Anthony L. Peratt together with their possible association with the ending of the last Ice Age.
For me, the most disturbing aspect of Schoch’s book is his apocalyptic vision of global catastrophes that he anticipates may turn the few survivors back into troglodytes!
However, Jason Colavito has reviewed Schoch’s claims relating to both the Rongorongo script(j) and Göbekli Tepe(k) and has found his ideas wanting. Colavito found further ammunition in the forthcoming book, Origins of the Sphinx, which Schoch co-authored with Robert Bauval, describing it as ‘a virtual rewriting of’ Keeper of Genesis(p). In 2019, Schoch expanded further on his opinions regarding the importance of Göbekli Tepe with a claim that its builders possessed some level of literacy(s), provoking further criticism from Colavito(r).
(t) New Dawn Magazine -July August 2010
(u) New Dawn Magazine- Special Issue No.8 2009)
Indonesia in recent years have seen an increasing number of supporters for the idea of Atlantis being located in the vicinity of today’s archipelago, prior to the ending of the last Ice Age, on the submerged continental shelf now frequently referred to as Sundaland. The redating of cave paintings on the island of Sulawesi suggests that they are as old as any in Europe(h), possibly stretching back as far as 40,000 years. A 2016 report(j) has now pushed back the earliest human occupation on Sulawesi to 100,000 years ago.
As far as I can ascertain the earliest suggested linkage between Atlantis and Indonesia came from the leading Theosophist, C. W.Leadbeater (1854-1934). In a booklet, The Occult History of Java, published in 1951 he proposed that Java had been an Atlantean colony.
However, it is reported(g) that Sukarno (1901-1970), the first president of Indonesia, spoke of Atlantis nearly half a century ago when he located it in the Atlantic
William Lauritzen was probably the first to advocate this idea of a Sundaland connection on his website, but it seems that the concept was given a huge boost by the publication of the late professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos’ book Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found.
The idea was given a boost in February 2012 when it was reported(a) by a somewhat incredulous Jakarta Post that the Indonesian president had given his support to a search for an ancient sunken civilisation in Indonesian waters following meetings with researchers including British author Stephen Oppenheimer.
May 2013 saw The Jakarta Post report(b) the publication of a book by local geologist, Danny Hilman Natawidjaja in which he claims that Atlantis was part of prehistoric Indonesia. In the book, entitled Penemuan Atlantis Nusantara (The Discovery of Atlantis in the Archipelago) he claims to base his theory on Plato’s text. However, commenting on the book the Indonesian archaeologist Daud Aris Tanudirjo said that Natawidjaja’s claim was ‘premature’, pointing out that the author had only an English translation of Plato’s text to work with and suggesting that Natawidjaja had no knowledge of ancient Greek. Further background information was subsequently made available(c).
Natawidjaja also claims that a site at Gunung Padang, 120 km southwest of Jakarta may be more than 9,000 years old! Graham Hancock has expanded on this idea(e). Nevertheless, a recent assault on Natawidjaja’s theories in an open letter(m) from Rebecca Bradley, has laid bare the weaknesses in his contentions.
In 2015 Dahni Irwanto published Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea, in which he located the biblical Garden of Eden and the legendary island of Taprobane on the Indonesian island of Kilimantan (Borneo) and placed Atlantis off its coast. Irwanto has built on the work of Santos, expanding Santos’ 32-checklist to 60 headings. In his well illustrated book Irwanto goes further with the suggestion that Atlantean Indonesia was a cultural centre from which post-diluvian refugees spread throughout the world influencing the great civilisations of Asia, the Mediterranean and the Americas.(p.143) He subsequently published Sundaland: Tracing the Cradle of Civilization (1618) in which he develops his idea that ancient Indonesia was a hyperdiffusionist hub. Although I found this book interesting, I thought it over speculative.
While Irwanto’s theories may be hard to accept, at least he presents then in a rational coherent manner, the same cannot be said of Turangga Seta, an Indonesian Atlantis-obsessed group, who place Atlantis in the Java Sea. Their leader, Timmy Hartadi, explains that their beliefs are based on psychic conversations with their ancestors!(n)
Coincidentally, Delisle de Sales, writing in the 18th century cited an anonymous source who placed Atlantis in Taprobane, considered at the time to be a reference to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), not Irwanto’s Indonesian Kilmantan.
A short April 2016 blog(k) suggests that Quranic Archaeology may be used to support the idea of an Indonesian Atlantis, a sentiment expressed again a month later(l).
(a) See: Archive 3629
(k) https://www.islamsejati.com/2016/03/ahli-arkeologi-fakta-dari-al-quran.html (offline Jan. 2017)