What is the Tower of Babel?

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According to the famed parable in Genesis, the Tower of Babel was a structure designed to be tall enough to reach the heavens. This was much to God’s dismay, so as a consequence, he thwarted their plans by confusing their language and scattering the people around the world.

While there are similar stories from other cultures, the Genesis tale is perhaps the most well-known version. Is it merely a Bible parable, or is there some truth behind the story of the famed tower?

Location of the Tower of Babel

According to this particular story, the tower was built in a place called Shinar. While no one can be sure of its exact location, it’s generally believed Shinar was Babylonia, somewhere in Mesopotamia.

Evidence of the Tower of Babel

Aside from depictions in the Bible and similar stories, there had never been any evidence for the Tower of Babel’s existence until the discovery of a clay tablet in Iraq.

The tablet dates back to around 600 BCE and depicts the seven tiers of a ziggurat, along with a portrait of King Nebuchadnezzar II. The text is the most notable aspect of the tablet, which reads:

“NEBUCHADNEZZAR, KING OF BABYLON AM I – IN ORDER TO COMPLETE E-TEMEN-ANKI AND E-UR-ME-IMIN-ANKI I MOBILIZED ALL COUNTRIES EVERYWHERE, EACH AND EVERY RULER WHO HAD BEEN RAISED TO PROMINENCE OVER ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD – LOVED BY MARDUK, FROM THE UPPER SEA TO THE LOWER SEA, THE DISTANT NATIONS, THE TEEMING PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, KINGS OF REMOTE MOUNTAINS AND FAR-FLUNG ISLANDS – THE BASE I FILLED IN TO MAKE A HIGH TERRACE. I BUILT THEIR STRUCTURES WITH BITUMEN AND BAKED BRICK THROUGHOUT. I COMPLETED IT RAISING ITS TOP TO THE HEAVEN, MAKING IT GLEAM BRIGHT AS THE SUN”

The text explicitly states that Nebuchadnezzar spearheaded the initiative to build the tower, assembling people from around the world to construct it. The tower is referred to as “E-Temen-Anki” (often stylized as “Etemenanki”).

Etemenanki

Etemenanki is an ancient tower local inhabitants have long suspected to be the remains of the Tower of Babel, but there had been no evidence to support this theory until the discovery of the aforementioned clay tablet. The site was rediscovered in the 19th century by the local population and excavated in 1913 by Robert Koldewey.

Today, only some of the remains of Etemenanki are visible as much of the site is overgrown. However, it is believed to have been originally about 91 meters tall.

Tower of Babel: Fact or Fiction?

One can argue the story of the Tower of Babel isn’t entirely incredulous. People around the world built towering structures to honor their respective gods for centuries. The pyramids of Egypt, Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, and similar structures throughout the world are all notable examples, along with the slew of towering temples scattered worldwide.

With this in mind, the idea of people collaborating to build a tower with the goal of reaching the heavens doesn’t seem that far fetched. Combine this with the evidence of Etemenanki, and there is quite a strong case for the existence of the Tower of Babel; however there always room for exploration.

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Indonesian Pyramid May Be Definitive Proof of a Lost Civilization

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A massive pyramidal structure on the Indonesian island of Java was found to be man-made, after drilling samples returned evidence of a hidden, subterranean temple below layers of vegetation and soil. The structure might predate the oldest megalithic site on Earth, Göbekli Tepe, by millennia.

Though the pyramid has been known to locals as the Gunung Padang megalithic site for some time, it’s now being acknowledged by mainstream archeology as a possible “ancient temple.”

The pyramid is located atop Mount Padang in West Java, covered by a dense layer of trees and foliage that have amassed over the thousands of years since it was built. In addition to the tier of flora, a number of soil and rock layers have developed over the course of its history leading to its obfuscation and making it appear as if it might be a natural formation.

Danny Natawidjaja, Ph.D., a senior geologist for the Research Center for Geotechnology at the Indonesian Institute for Sciences, has been studying the pyramid for years, saying he believes it may be evidence of an ancient, lost civilization predating any we’ve known.

“Old stories about Atlantis and other great, lost civilizations of prehistory, long dismissed as myths by archaeologists, look set to be proved true,” Natawidjaja told Graham Hancock in a 2014 interview.

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Natawidjaja and colleagues first noticed artificial signatures in the temple when comparing it to the eroded, natural landscape nearby. They also spotted particular characteristics in the basaltic standing stones atop the pyramid, that frame its stepped terraces. These can be found next to other rock columns and arrangements that form distinct walls, paths, and spaces clearly hinting at an anthropogenic origin. This layer alone dates back 3,500 years, with subsequent layers getting continually older the further archeologists dig.

In a recent report by LiveScience, Natawidjaja revealed the results of a study that incorporated ground-penetrating radar, x-rays, tomography, and core samples showing the pyramid’s age. The latest interest in his findings among the academic community may encourage the Indonesian government to allow further excavation – something it’s been averse to in the past.

“Underneath the surface, to a depth of about 10 feet (3 m), was a second layer of similar rock columns, thought to be 7,500 to 8,300 years old. And a third layer, extending 49 feet (15 m) below the surface, is more than 9,000 years old; it could even date to 28,000 years ago, according to the researchers. Their surveys also detected multiple chambers underground,”

Today, the top of the pyramid is used for prayer like it probably was thousands of years ago. And now that mainstream archeology is finally willing to accept that it is in fact, a man-made structure, we may be on the precipice of a true paradigm shift in our perception of human history.

 

For more on anomalous archeological sites around the world, check out Ancient Civilizations :

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