The Ancient Stone Shrine and the Forgotten Pyramid
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8th April 2014
Undoubtedly, our team returned from this expedition with a negative score card. Of the six Tribe members that went in, only two came out unscathed. As Ryan rightly commented later, “you have done worse”. I do pride myself on bringing people back in tact and at least semi-upright, but as for being undamaged, I can guarantee nothing on my watch.
At the end of the day, only Ryan and Evan emerged uncut, unbruised and none the worse for wear. Bev’s fall was unseen by others, and while made no complaint, it was obvious that one error in foot placement led to her taking up an unplanned residence under some palms and waiting for us to return. Mal hurt her ankle on the way back but carried (and hobbled) on, making sure she kept up despite the pain and inconvenience. Adam, our bare-footed empath who walked his own path somewhere up the front, cut his foot on the coarse quartz encrusted granite rocks that make up the creek-bed and 90% of the route we took. And I managed a very encouraging ‘bleed’ on my hand.
I always cut myself on country and invariably shed a drop or two of blood. And if blood is a sign of things to come, this was indeed an unusually good omen.
Our main guide, Trina, moved as easily as Adam and was just as in tune with the unsteady lay of the stones that formed the creek bed. Watching her navigate the difficult bushland, it soon became obvious she wasn’t just the guardians of the ancient treasure that awaited us somewhere around the “next bend”, she was meant to be so. As is so often the case, the land had clearly chosen her.
Negotiating a safe path through the rocks was a challenging proposition, each and every step was without exception a difficult task and the terrain unforgiving if a poor choice was made. From a distance the party was so strewn out it would seem keeping everyone together was more difficult than herding cats. Trina and Tina were always ahead and kindly slackened the pace so that the gap didn’t become embarrassing, while Adam was somewhere further up, resting and waiting for us to catch up before moving further on yet remaining within sight.
It took about an hour before we reached the first of two sites, and despite our difficulties, it would be fair to say we had barely covered a kilometer (0.6 miles) as the crow flies. The scenery was certainly turning tropical. Despite its inland location, the vegetation, elevation and high peaks created conditions that meant this area receives the highest rainfall in the area.
The Ancient Shrine
At the part of the creek that I first noticed a ‘greener tinge’ in the water, we came upon the first of the two sites we set out to visit. The photographs Trina sent us earlier had me prepared, and wary. We had learnt many times before that photographs don’t always depict such ancient sites accurately, and to an certain degree this was the case yet again. To be honest I was a little underwhelmed; I expected something a touch grander and imposing.
But that was how it began. Looking around on site, my ‘eyes’ started to become accustomed to the nuances and arrangements before us, and it soon became clear the positioning of rocks was unnatural.
A platform with shaped rocks stacked atop measured about 40 metres (130 ft) in length and up to 5 metres (16 ft) in height. What became immediately apparent standing on the rock shelf in front of this structure was how incredibly flat and straight the entire platform is; horizontal planes support the many rocks placed above, and the vertical lines run very close to ninety degrees. It would not be unreasonable to propose that the rock ledge was originally close to being this (naturally) flat and level, and while it could possibly be the result of natural agency, the monument above it shows evidence of human hands and tools in its construction.
However, what stands in between and above is most certainly not natural. The thin slab of rock leaning against the wall was uniform in width, not like the rocks nearby, and I suspected it was originally part of something bigger. I wasn’t sure of its place of origin – not until standing on the rock shelf, which probably also fell from above.
What I saw was totally unexpected. Between the 40 metre wall and the rock boulder/ramp in front was a uniform gap of 10 centimetres, and this opening was sealed by a thin slab of granite, around 5 metres by 2 metres (16 x 6 ft). Both sides of the granite insert are 180 degrees, flat and smooth, and together form an almost perfect seal/join between the wall and the ramp. This rock veneer is most definitely of a different type of rock than that of the wall and ramp, and did not naturally shear away. While the technology and masonry skills apparent in this construction were not supposed to be in existence in Australia in ancient days, it would seem that this granite sheet was ‘made to order’ and specifically placed between the wall and ramp.
Trying to Stay on the Fence
And so our analysis began. My challenge was that after examining the rock joiner, my mind was already made up. I had prepared a list of tasks to conduct on site, amongst which measuring each rock and estimating its weight was a high priority. But not anymore; my first priority was to identify what was here, and still is.
After climbing up for a closer inspection of the rocks and shining a torch between the first and second layers of rocks, I gave up fighting against the blatantly obvious. I made some attempt to delete thoughts of the granite insert and start again, remaining impartial and maintaining and objective focus, but it was a waste of time…. it was obvious this was an ancient complex.
All the way along we could see in at least 40 centimetres and the space between remained constant, each rock fitted perfectly and each rock was shaped, chiselled and placed by humans. There was no other logical alternative; this complex was at least partly man-made. Nature does many miraculous things, but it does not chisel and stack four rocks, one on top of the other, in a manner that best supports the weight of the rocks below and above. There is too much seemingly intentional design at play here for natural agents to be responsible.
Just left of the centre of the wall is a construct/formation that I feel is reminiscent of an altar. The area is recessed about 10 centimetres (4”) and features one arched rock that tapers to a peak. The two smaller rocks at the bottom were originally part of the larger rock and have split off some time in the past. The arch also supports rocks above that have been cut to fit.
Throughout our brief inspection there remained one constant: up and down the rock-face there are too many straight lines and right angles to put down to chance.
The Forgotten Pyramid
However, not every rock on this site runs in parallel lines. Two pyramid rocks were also found on the two flanks of this site, similar to those found at the Standing Stones
and Adam’s Garden (Emu’s Nest)
sites. The first was in situ, deliberately placed inside a small grotto-like stone lean-to. The pyramid rock serves no function as it bears no weight and stands alone. Even though it is now stationed in a protected location, it seems quite old and the stone very worn.
In contradiction to the condition of the first pyramid rock, the second shaped rock was found exposed in the open yet has one side that is very sharp and is a far more dramatic specimen. I remember at the time that both Evan and Ryan were quite taken by this rock – and quite rightly so – but with so much to take in on this trip, Ryan’s memory of this specific artefact waned over the hours.
The pyramid shape holds consistent on every side. All four faces are flat and totally lacking in percussion points or bulbs. Once again the absence of impact marks typical of rock-on-rock technology automatically rules out creation by an Original toolkit. The granite rock of this area is very hard, nothing like the softer grades of sandstone, and demands a hardness of blade that neither Original nor ancient Egyptian possessed. And given the finesse on display here, we have trouble accepting anything less than an iron chisel as a minimum base.
To the left of the 40 meter construction, Mal found the remains of what could be an ancient wall, and one rock embedded in the ground that did look quite promising. Until dug out and removed to ascertain what the rest of the rock was facing and aligned to, it is yet another possibility. But with the certainty of what I believe is some sort of temple or shrine only 5 metres away, it is destined for further investigation on another day.
It was time to move on to the next complex, and if I was initially a little underwhelmed by my first encounter, the second time around it was the complete opposite. Even now, I still have trouble accepting possible the implications of what we saw. For now though, there is still one task incomplete in this initial report; a concluding remark, summing up our opinions of the site that Trina so kindly took us to.
We always work as a collective, on and off the field, and it is no different here. I asked the opinions of three of our group, all of whom had been on many expeditions looking at all types of archaeology. I did originally think about asking Mal and Bev, but I as this experience was unique to them I suspected that they may have little in comparative reference points, and that their opinions might therefore cloud the discussion. My questions were simple, or so I thought: Do you think there is evidence of human hands and tools at this site? And what percentage reflects your degree of certainty?
Evan felt the “triangular rock” and “straight lines” established a compelling case. He also made note of “feelings” he sensed of an ancient presence, which for Evan, added up to a 90% chance of authenticity. Adam was convinced that the base platform was “made by nature” and what stood above “was assisted by man” who “worked with that place”. Absolutely sure of an ancient involvement, which he also intuitively sensed, I assumed this led to a “100%” assessment…. but with Adam, there are no numbers. The old paradigms can’t express the way he relates to the land, and he was not prepared to try to quantify it. Despite his sound philosophical objections, I’m putting him down as “100%” certain, although I will undoubtedly suffer the consequences when he reads this article
Ryan on the other hand was more pragmatic, and gave the site a ranking of 40% certainty. Although he conceded that he too “sensed use by ancient cultures”, he was correct in observing other formations where rocks had naturally splintered, albeit in diagonal, often jagged and erratic lines. But later that night, he called me outside to show me a photograph he had taken of the pyramid rock – he wanted to recast his vote. Ryan had forgotten about this rock and his initial infatuation with it, and although his vote had been taken, I allowed an informed revision upwards – as far as 70%. Despite his protests to raise the bar further, I was pleased to have someone in our immediate group seeking more evidence before making a judgement. While this may seem a secondary narrative, I believe it illustrates our team’s diversity, independence and balanced approach to our work.
In my case, I was very much in sync with Adam’s explanations. There are too many straight lines, separate shaped blocks, and repetition of 90 and 180 degree angles in evidence. And of course, beneath this evidence is the granite insert between the wall and ramp. It is my belief that Trina has found an ancient temple, possibly even a shrine. And regardless of the site’s function, it is our collective contention that these sure-footed ladies have indeed discovered the remains of an ancient civilisation.
In an upcoming article, I will provide details of the second site shown to us that day – a far grander site with at least three separate areas of intriguing geometric rock structures and arrangements spread over a larger area, and which evidence a variety of construction techniques.
Previous articles by Steven Strong:
About the author:
Steven Strong is an Australian-based researcher, author and former high-school teacher with a background in archaeology. He was involved in the formation of a Graduate Diploma of Aboriginal Education for the NSW Department of Education, writing units on Traditional Law and Contemporary History. He also co-authored the highly successful “Aboriginal Australia: A Language and Cultural kit”.
Together with his son Evan, Steve has co-written 4 books: Constructing a New World Map
, Mary Magdalene’s Dreaming
and Forgotten Origin
(published by University Press of America) and their latest publication Shunned
, which thoroughly refutes the Out-of-Africa theory of human history and examines the archaeological and DNA evidence that suggests Australia is where modern human beings derived.
Steve has written over a dozen articles on Original history and lore for the National Indigenous Times, with four articles also appearing in New Dawn
magazine. With close to 30 years of contact with original Gumilaroi people and tribes of the Bundjalung Language Confederation, and the benefit of extensive consultation with many Original Elders, Steve and Evan’s work is to reveal the story of the Original people, a narrative that was almost lost to aggressive European colonisation.