Building around 18,000 BC

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One of the most amply documented Upper Paleolithic cultures in eastern Europe is the Kostenski-Bershevo culture centered in the Don River Valley, about 470 kilometers southeast of Moscow. About 25,000 to 11,000 years ago, the Kostenski-Bershevo area was an open grassland environment, with no rock shelters, caves, or other natural habitations, and with very little wood available for fires. People here left a variety of archeological sites, including base camps, where pit houses were constructed  by digging a pit a meter or so deep, ringing the excavation with mammoth bones or tusks, and then draping hides over these supports. Some excavated pit houses were relatively large, with many hearths, suggesting that several families may have passed the winter together. (Patterns in Prehistory)

Kukla showed that just twenty thousand years ago when fully modern man, Homo sapiens sapiens, was painting scenes of the animal hunt on the ceilings of caves in southern France and Spain, the ice cap had extended southward from Scandinavia almost to the Alps just as Louis Agassiz had suspected. One clan of Ice Age hunters in Moravia had constructed dwellings near the conjunction of two rivers in the drainage basin of the Black Sea. Their homes, comprising the Upper Paleolithic settlement called Dolni Vestonice, had been built over pits chiseled from the frozen peat with hand axes. The roof of each tentlike structure was arched with poles, which were draped with animal skins stitched together with sinew. The hides were anchored to the ground by massive animal hipbones and by the skulls of reindeer, mammoths, and the occasional rhinoceros. Tusks provided fuel for hearths. The tool culture was exceptional for its fine leaf-shaped blades struck from a core of flint and for small bone carvings of animal heads, notably the wolf and the bear. (Noah's Flood)

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What has brought Natawidjaja to this radical view is the evidence he and his team have uncovered at Gunung Padang. When their drill cores began to yield very ancient carbon dates from organic materials embedded in clays filling the gaps between worked stones, they expanded their investigation using geophysical equipment—ground-penetrating radar, seismic tomography and electrical resistivity—to get a picture of what lay under the ground. The results were stunning, showing layers of massive construction using the same megalithic elements of columnar basalt that are found on the surface but with courses of huge basaltic rocks beneath them extending down to thirty meters (100 feet) and more beneath the surface. At those depths the carbon dates indicate that the megaliths were put in place more than 12,000 years ago and in some cases as far back as 24,000 years ago. (Magicians of the Gods)

“The geophysical evidence is unambiguous,” Natawidjaja says. “Gunung Padang is not a natural hill but a man-made pyramid and the origins of construction here go back long before the end of the last Ice Age. Since the work is massive even at the deepest levels, and bears witness to the kinds of sophisticated construction skills that were deployed to build the pyramids of Egypt, or the largest megalithic sites of Europe, I can only conclude that we’re looking at the work of a lost civilization and a fairly advanced one.” (Magicians of the Gods)

Schoch was in his element at Gunung Padang carefully interrogating the results of the geophysical scans with Danny, collecting samples and minutely examining the site. Afterward, when he’d returned to the US and had time to analyze the data, he wrote: The first important observation is that … Gunung Padang goes back to before the end of the last Ice Age, circa 9700 BC. Based on the evidence, I believe that human use of the site began by circa 14,700 BC. Possibly the earliest use of the site goes back to 22,000 BC, or even earlier. (Magicians of the Gods)