Presidential Staff Member Backs Hunt for Ancient Indonesian Pyramid
Keyko Ranti Ramadhani
A presidential staff member is trying to convince three ministries to support a team of scientists who want to look into rumors of pyramids lying beneath West Java’s Mount Sadahurip and Mount Padang.
Andi Arief, a special staff member to the president on social affairs and disaster management, set up a meeting on Friday to discuss the issues.
In attendance were members of the so-called Ancient Catastrophic Studies Team, led by seismologist Danny Hilman, and representatives from the ministries of tourism, research and technology, and education and culture.
Andi said there had also been informal meetings between the team and officials from the Tourism Ministry.
The ministries, he said, could bring much-needed expertise, equipment and funding to help bring the project to fruition.
Finding pyramids in Indonesia, Hilman said, would rewrite the history of the archipelago, and possibly the world.
“We could prove that our ancient civilizations were much more advanced than previously believed, even long before the Majapahit,” he said referring to one of the archipelago’s oldest and biggest known kingdoms.
“We [showed ministry officials] geological and geophysical research, which indicate that ancient ruins lie beneath the mountains,” he said.
Teguh Rahardjo, deputy minister for research and technology, said his office would look into the findings before deciding whether to get involved in the project. “But of course we support this kind of research,” he said.
The team, Andi said, had initially set out to conduct geological research rather than find pyramids. He said that the idea of looking for pyramids had come about after adventure travel company Geotrek Indonesia pointed out that Mount Sadahurip, located in Garut district, was too pyramidal in shape to be a natural occurrence.
Not everybody has bought into the pyramid theory. Sujatmiko, a geologist from the Indonesian Geological Experts Association, said he thought Sadahurip had formed naturally.
The mountain is located on a dominant volcanic line in West Java, and Sujatmiko said it had formed as a pyroclastic volcanic mound out of magma that emerged from the earth’s surface without a typical magma channel beneath.
I Gde Pitana, acting director general of the Tourism Ministry, has said the notion that Indonesia’s history might have included pyramids was implausible. There are enough mountains here that there was no need to build tall structures for worship, he said.
Pitana said his ministry had asked several universities to conduct tests and research on the site to see if the Sadahurip structure was man-made or natural. The findings, he said, conflicted with each other.
And that should give the pyramid hunters reason to hope.