The multidisciplinary team, which included specialists from the University of Kiel and the German Archaeological Institute, for the first time assessed the scale of the construction of the so-called “Pyramids of Palau”. Scientists came to the conclusion that a primitive society simply could not build such objects.
The study was published in the journal Informationsdienst Wissenschaft and is briefly featured in Heritage Daily. The expedition went to the island of Palau, where the mysterious “green” pyramids are located.
Monumental prehistoric buildings are generally characteristic of the islands of Oceania. On the Palau Islands, they were erected around 500 BC. No one knows what kind of builders they built. The oral traditions of the indigenous people tell that in ancient times a huge snake twisted around the hills on the island of Palau, and its body turned into giant terraces, which were built in a pyramidal order.
The new study used state-of-the-art geoarchaeological methods. In addition, archaeologists took soil scientists and paleoecologists as their assistants. Together they found that the ancient builders used weathered volcanic rock to build the pyramids. The foundations of the pyramids were laid out of this material, and the upper layers in the form of terraces were created from fertile soil. It is assumed that they could be used to grow agricultural plants.
“For generations and with an almost unimaginable amount of work, these workers had to move millions of tons of soil,” says Dr. Annette Kühlem, who led the excavations. “This is an achievement that is only possible in a politically well-organized complex society.”
What’s more, the team found that not all pyramids could be used for “gardening and horticulture.” Complex burials were found on the tops of some of them. To date, archaeologists have found the remains of six people. According to Dr. Künneth, the skulls are quite well preserved. This gives scientists hope that it will be possible to conduct DNA analysis. The results will reveal whether the enigmatic pyramid builders are related by blood to the population that lives in the area today.