Category Archives: VIETNAM

Neolithic site of Monte D’Accoddi: Is This European Megalithic Altar the Oldest Pyramid in the World?

Neolithic site of Monte D’Accoddi: Is This European Megalithic Altar the Oldest Pyramid in the World?

Monte d’Accoddi is a Neolithic archaeological site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar.

It was constructed by the Ozieri culture or earlier, with the oldest parts dated to around 4,000–3,650 BC.

We think immediately about the most similar known examples: the Mesopotamian ziqqurat or the first step pyramid of Djoser in Egypt. But is it possible that these monumental types, thousands of miles away, have common ancestry?

The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. The original structure was built by the Ozieri culture or earlier c. 4,000–3,650 BC and has a base of 27 m by 27 m and probably reached a height of 5.5 m.

It culminated in a platform of about 12.5 m by 7.2 m, accessible via a ramp. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid.

It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.

The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archaeological evidence.

Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one.

This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.

The dolmen and a carved boulder in the foreground

Archaeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d’Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep, cattle, and swine recovered in near equal proportions.

It is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe, providing insight into the development of ritual in prehistoric society, and earning it a designation as “the most singular cultic monument in the early Western Mediterranean”.

The carved boulder

The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.

Based on the evidence of architecture, ritual deposits and diagnostic pottery, G. and M. Webster argued, in 2017 & 2019, for the monument’s status as a product of a migration event (probably exilic) initiated from Mesopotamia, during the first half of the 4th millennium B.C.

This view is now considered obsolete and scholars are focusing on a different interpretation of local evolution.

Surrounding Area:

The surroundings of the Monte d’Accoddi have been excavated in the 1960s, and have provided the signs of a considerable sacred centre.

Near the south-eastern corner of the monument there is a dolmen, and across the ramp stands a considerable menhir, one of several standing stones which was formerly found in the vicinity.

The foundations of several small structures (possibly residential) were excavated, and several mysterious carved stones.

The most impressive of these is a large boulder carved into the shape of an egg and then cut through on a subtle curving three-dimensional line.

The Largest Cave ever found on earth. so big, it has its own ecosystem

The Largest Cave ever found on earth. so big, it has its own ecosystem

The Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is the largest cave passage in the world. This huge and intricate cave system was created by water that percolated down from a rainforest above, ultimately carving into the rock.

Deep inside the cave sits a flourishing jungle, which grows 200 meters below ground level in an area where the cave roof has collapsed.

Home to an impressive ecosystem with a dangerous system of pathways, this rainforest is quite the destination. To date, only explorers and very few tourists have laid eyes on it. Would you dare to be one of them?

An Accidental Discovery

For a cave that’s located inside of an UNESCO listed park, Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang, it’s quite shocking that it was first discovered only 3 decades ago – on accident by a local farmer.

In 1990, while seeking shelter from a storm in the jungle, Ho Khanh stumbled upon this 3-million-year-old natural wonder and reported it to the British Caving Research Association.

Unfortunately, however, Khanh lost track of the cave’s exact location and it took almost 2 more decades for Son Doong cave to be rediscovered.

Unbelievably, in 2008, Ho Khanh stumbled upon the elusive cave once again! Luckily he remembered the location this time around and experts finally began exploring, eventually determining Son Doong to be the largest cave in the world.

Inside of a Rainforest, Inside of a Cave

Appropriate to its record-breaking size, Son Doong also houses an impressive ecosystem.

They are formed by a concretion of calcium salts polished by moving water.
Large stalagmites in the passage of Hang Son Doong in Vietnam. The tallest has been measured at 70 meters in height.
Large stalagmites in the passage of Hang Son Doong in Vietnam. The tallest has been measured at 70 meters in height.

Not only does it have its own localized weather system, but this massive cave is home to the largest stalagmite ever found, nicknamed “Hand of Dog,” and a cave floor littered with rare limestone pearls.

But all of that isn’t even close to everything Son Doong has to offer — this fascinating cave system has its very own rainforest, the Garden of Edam.

With time, collapsed ceilings have created holes called dolines, allowing lush foliage to grow and creating a remote and dangerously inaccessible jungle.

Son Doong’s rainforest is home to flying foxes and endangered tigers, as well as rare langurs and trees as tall as buildings.

On bright days sunbeams stream through the dolines, illuminating carpets of moss below on a section of the cave nicknamed “Watch Out for Dinosaurs.”

Since 2012, one tour company called Oxalis has been taking a strict number of tourists per year into Son Doong — a treacherous five-day trek that only a lucky few will ever experience.

1100-year-old monolithic sandstone Shivling unearthed in Vietnam’s Cham temple complex

1100-year-old monolithic sandstone Shivling unearthed in Vietnam’s Cham temple complex

The Indian Archeological Survey on Wednesday exposed a monolithic sandstone Shiva Linga from the 9th Common Era during its conservation project. The structure was excavated from the Cham Temple Complex at the My Son Sanctuary of Vietnam.

Monolithic sandstone Shiv Linga of 9th c CE is the latest find in ongoing conservation projects. Applaud @ASIGoI team for their work at Cham Temple Complex, My Son.

My Son in Quang Nam province of Vietnam excavated the Shiva Ling. After the Shiva Linga was unearthed, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called it “a great cultural example of India’s development partnership”. He even lauded India and Vietnam’s “civilizational connect”.

My Son sanctuary in Vietnam is a designated UNESCO world heritage center and a home to a cluster of Hindu temples built over 10 centuries. The temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvara.

The UNESCO site describes the ancient complex as follows: “Between the 4th and 13th centuries, a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Viet Nam.

This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in a dramatic site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence.”

The 2000-year old shared history between Vietnam and India

Tourists visit My Son Sanctuary.

India and Vietnam share a long, rich civilizational history that dates back to 2,000 years ago when the latter’s first civilized society was established.

The Champa civilization or the Cham civilization occupied what is today known as central Vietnam. India’s influence on the Cham civilization ranges from its archaeology to language with city names like Indrapura, Simhapura, Amaravati, Vijaya, and Panduranga.

“The oldest artifacts of a distinctly Cham civilization—brick flooring, sandstone pillars and pottery found at Tra Kieu in Quang Nam Province—date to the second century A.D,” a 2014 report in the National Geographic said.

Internationally renowned and award-winning marine archaeologist Robert Stenuit claimed that residents of the Cham civilization were great sailors and builders. He added that the Cham society also most likely practiced Shaivite Hinduism.

When President Ram Nath Kovind visited Vietnam in 2018, he began his journey from Da Nang, where the world heritage site of Mỹ Sơn falls — a place believed to have strong civilizational connect with India and the majority Hindu population.

Till today, archaeologists continue to discover citadels in this cluster and about 25 temple sites have survived in Vietnam.

According to the official website of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, “Many of their shrines honour Shiva—often shown as a linga, while their carvings depict all manner of Hindu deities.

Hindu doctrines were blended with homegrown beliefs, such as their conviction that they were descended from a goddess named Po Nagar, born from heavenly clouds and seafoam.”

Massive Finding At Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi, India.

In another massive discovery, a five-foot Shivaling, seven pillars of black touchstone, six pillars of red sandstone, and broken idols of Devi-Devtas were found at Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi temple site.

Informing about the findings, Champat Rai, General Secy of Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust, said that for 10 days the ground at the site was being leveled and that is when the pillars in the debris and other items were found.