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. Then 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!>Although I do not support the idea of an Indonesian Atlantis, I am forced to admit that a far more interesting case for it has been made by Dhani Irwanto.
In his review of Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods, Jason Colavito refers to “Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, the Indonesian geologist who declared the site of Gunung Padang on Sumatra to be ten or twenty thousand years old, and thus making Indonesia the cradle of civilization. Natawidjaja is a true believer in fringe history and suspects that Plato was speaking of Gunung Padang when writing of Atlantis. His opinions are noteworthy only because the previous government of Indonesia gave him the money and resources to excavate the site in search of proof of Indonesian primacy in history before the current government shut down the investigation for becoming an international laughingstock. Like Semir Osmanogich in Bosnia, Natawidjaja sees artificial layers of construction in the deepest layers of what his colleagues in Indonesia and archaeologists around the world believe to be a natural hill crowned with later ruins.” (n).<
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 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 a number of sites to which the Greeks applied the appellation ‘Pillars of Heracles‘ apart from the Strait of Gibraltar.
“The Greeks, however, used the name Pillars of Herakles to mark other sites besides Gibraltar, some outside the Mediterranean – namely, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and the Strait of Kerch dividing the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov – and even more inside – specifically, the Strait of Bonafacio between Corsica and Sardinia, the Strait of Messina between mainland Italy and Sicily, the Greek Peloponnese, the mountainous coast of Tunisia, and the Nile Delta.” [p.87] A highly critical review of Schoch’s ‘Voices’ can be read online(n).
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 critique by William P Eigles tackles ‘Voyages’ in Atlantis Rising magazine # 37, where Schoch endeavours to link the global presence of pyramids as a possible expression of hyperdiffusion. Eigles comments that Schoch “may simply be trying to prove too much here. Many of the motivations, reasons and interpretations he offers for the various activities and actions on the part of the ancients are clearly speculative in nature.(ad)”
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).
Schoch subsequently pushed the date of the Sphinx as far back as circa 10,000 BCE and he now suggests that the monument was carved in the shape of a lioness.(ae)
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>as has Professor Garrett Fagan(ag).<
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 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. His attack on Schoch was later added to by an assault from Jock Doubleday in a very lengthy article(y) in which, among other matters, he accuses Schoch of a series of thirteen lies! I should perhaps mention that Doubleday has been featured for some years now in the burgeoning Encyclopedia of American Loons(z). As well as that, elsewhere, a very personal attack has also been made on Collette Dowell(aa). Support for Schoch’s claim of a Bosnian pyramid hoax is also available(ab).
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, triggering 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 is 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 a power grid to damage at the time, we are unaware of what effect it had on the people 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). Schoch expanded on this claim in a subsequent post(ac), but for me, I find this proposed literacy at Göbekli Tepe a push too far.
>ORACUL – The Organization for the Research of Ancient Cultures is a not-for-profit body, co-founded by Schoch “dedicated to the scientific study of civilization’s origins. It is our hope that through research advocacy, publishing, and educational outreach, further evidence for mankind’s remote and forgotten past will be uncovered.”(af)<
(t) New Dawn Magazine -July August 2010
(u) New Dawn Magazine- Special Issue No.8 2009)
(aa) Aliens to Science – Welcome to the official web page of the ‘Archaeological Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun’ Foundation / Dobrodošli na službenu web stranicu Fondacije ‘Arheološki park: Bosanska piramida Sunca’al Park: Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation
(ad) Atlantis Rising magazine #37 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
Over the past twenty years, he has been investigating the possible existence of ancient advanced civilisations. He has written three books on the subject of pre-history. His volume on Atlantis has been well received as an example of how the subject should be researched. Although Collins initially thought that Antarctica had been home to Atlantis, he eventually concluded that Cuba was its location and provided a wealth of evidence to support this view in his book, Gateway to Atlantis. David Rohl wrote a sympathetic Introduction for the book and repeated and expanded on his expressed views at a subsequent lecture(h).
What did surprise Collins, was that following the publication of his carefully-argued ‘Gateway’ was that most responses to his book indicated that the dominant theory regarding the location of Atlantis favoured Antarctica!(ac)
Collins also wrote of why his chosen Cuba is a better candidate for the location of Atlantis than the Bahamas(r). He seems to have been reluctant to exclude the Bahamas completely from the Atlantis story. In an article in Atlantis Rising magazine(z) he commented “There is no question that if the Bahamian landmass did once support a prehistoric culture, then it was also present on Cuba as well”.
Collins has recently written another controversial book, on the place of the constellation Cygnus in prehistoric consciousness. Arising from this study, it appears that the position of the Cygnus stars correlates more accurately with the Giza pyramids than those of Orion, which was proposed some years ago by Robert Bauval. Incredibly, a fifteen-year-old Canadian boy has produced a comparable theory(e) involving Mayan cities and a star map. The site proposed by him has now been identified, by people who personally know the location, as either an abandoned cornfield or a marijuana crop(f). In 2018, Gustavo Muniz posted a number of videos on YouTube suggesting an Orion connection with a site in the Amazon Basin(i)!
However, Collins has not been completely seduced by Bauval’s discovery and prudently remarks that the correlation may just be a coincidence. Jason Colavito has written a brief critique(b) of this book.
In 2002 Collins teamed up with Chris Ogilvie-Herald to write Tutankhamun . It is a great read involving as it does, unexplained deaths, political intrigue and possible blackmail. Howard Carter and Lord Carnavon are also accused of looting some of the treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb. However, for me, the core weakness in this book is that it is dependent on a claim that the plunder taken by Carter and Carnavon had included papyrus documents, the contents of which allegedly contained material that was still deemed politically sensitive even three thousand years later! Without the papyrus, there is no book.
In 2007, he wrote an article(q) for Alternate Perceptions Magazine reviewing the comet impact theory of Richard Firestone et al and its possible implication for his Atlantis theory.
In 2005, Collins published The Cygnus Mysteryin which he explored the significance of the Cygnus constellation in the ancient cultures of America, Egypt and Britain. (a condensed version of the book is available online(s)). Furthermore, in August 2013 he published a paper(c) with Rodney Hale suggesting that the Göbekli Tepe site is probably aligned with the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation. This idea has now been expanded on in Collins’ 2014 book, Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, although his treatment has been heavily criticised as pseudoscience(g).
In a recent paper(t), Andrew Collins disputed Bauval‘s Orion Correlation Theory and instead offered evidence that the alignment of the three principal Giza pyramids matches more closely the ‘wing’ stars of the Cygnus constellation than the ‘belt’ of Orion! Greg Little offered some rather lukewarm support for Collins’ alternative to the OCT(u).
Nevertheless, Little & Collins teamed up as co-authors of Denisovan Origins  in 2019, a literary bromance that has led to another joint offering, Origins of the Gods due for publication in 2022, in which the authors explore “how our ancestors used shamanic rituals at sacred sites to create portals for communication with non-human intelligences”. If that does not sufficiently whet your appetite, the news that the well-known convicted fraudster Erich von Däniken has written the Foreword should clinch it for you.
Collins has made some dramatic claims regarding the significance of Cygnus including the proposal that “The veneration of Cygnus as a bird associated with cosmic life and death goes back 17,000 years to when the constellation occupied pole position in the northern night sky” and perhaps even more extreme, the idea that “Cygnus is at the root of all the world’s religions.”
Collins continues with the Cygnus-Giza connection in a subsequent offering Beneath the Pyramids. This book reveals the tunnels and chambers beneath the Giza pyramids and their possible connection with the “Hall of Records” predicted by Edgar Cayce to be located there and due for discovery.
In a paper(d), co-authored with Rodney Hale, published in April 2016, Collins returned to the theory of a Cygnus-Giza correlation based on a master plan that they claim can now be demonstrated mathematically.
Collins has now moved on to new ground with his Lightquest, in which he attempts to offer a new explanation for the UFO phenomena. He claims that what has been described as UFOs are “the product of sentient light forms and light intelligences that co-exist with humanity, and have done so since time immemorial.”
Nevertheless, Collins returns to the subject of Atlantis with a new book, Atlantis in the Caribbean, which is a revised version of Gateway to Atlantis. In it, he follows some of Otto Muck’s ideas and “Explains how Atlantis was destroyed by a comet, the same comet that formed the mysterious Carolina Bays“.
>Collins who proposes Cuba as the location of Atlantis has offered a critical response to Emilio Spedicato‘s Hispaniola theory in both Gateway to Atlantis and its revised version Atlantis in the Caribbean, which can be read online(ad).<
When the Denisovans were recently identified as an extinct species of hominid, related to the Neanderthals It did not take long for speculative history enthusiasts to jump on board this new bandwagon. Andrew Collins has now published The Cygnus Key, in which he claims to present “compelling evidence showing that the earliest origins of human culture, religion, and technology derive from the Denisovans, the true creators of the lost civilization long known to exist but never before proved.” Jason Colavito also presents a critique of this latest ‘Cygnus’ book in a two-part(m)(n) offering.
While the first Denisovan remains were found in Siberia, now there is evidence that they were also the earliest hominins on the Tibetan Plateau(j).
Before the identification of the Denisovans, Colin Wilson had claimed that the Neanderthals “were the civilising force behind Atlantis”! One cannot help wondering if another early hominid species is discovered, which is quite possible, will they also be claimed as the progenitors of Plato’s lost civilisation?
In this new book Collins also “explains how the stars of Cygnus coincided with the turning point of the heavens at the moment the Denisovan legacy was handed to the first human societies in southern Siberia some 45,000 years ago, catalyzing beliefs in swan ancestry and an understanding of Cygnus as the source of cosmic creation.” Hmm.
Collins and Rodney Hale have studied the Gunung Padang site in Indonesia, which has generated claims of antiquity greater than that of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. While their investigation raised a number of minor matters, they were unable to endorse the rather extreme dates suggested until more convincing data is available(x).
In June 2019, Collins published a two-part article(l) on the Ancient Origins website, in which he explores the possibility of Giza’s Great Pyramid having sound technology incorporated into its construction and that “its Dead-end passage function as an infrasound generator?”
Later in 2019, Collins had his 1996 book, From the Ashes of Angels, banned in Turkey(p), it is not clear yet if he is personally banned as well. Apparently, it all stems from some perceived support that Collins gave to the Kurdish cause in ‘Ashes’! I hope he refrains from mentioning the Armenians. A YouTube video from Collins offers his account of the episode(y).
Collins has seemingly made peace with the Turkish authorities as he is now planning a tour of Karahan Tepe later in 2022(ab). This link has some interesting images.
Andrew Collins maintains a useful website(a) that has plenty of information on his books and lectures. He also offers an extended section relating to his Atlantis theories(o). Nevertheless, he does seem to have retained his interest in metaphysical subjects, which is where he started.
Collins is now a regular contributor to Ancient Origins. His website lists the articles published there so far(aa).
(z) Atlantis Rising magazine #37 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
Indonesia in recent years has 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.
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).
>The ‘Atlantis in Indonesia’ bandwagon became more crowded in 2019 when an entire group climbed aboard. They are known as Turangga Seta, whose founder and spokesman Timmy Hardati claims that Atlantis was submerged in the Java Sea. They also claim that there is a 300-metre high pyramid inside Bandung’s Mount Lalakon! However, the twist in the tale is that the group has no interest in conventional science preferring to depend on psychic ‘conversations with ancestors’.(o) While Irwanto’s theories may be hard to accept, at least he presents them in a rational coherent manner, the same cannot be said of the Turangga Seta(n).<
(a) See: Archive 3629
(k) https://www.islamsejati.com/2016/03/ahli-arkeologi-fakta-dari-al-quran.html (offline Jan. 2017)