I wonder how many archaeological mysteries or relics have been inadvertently destroyed in the name of “progress.” Many of the ancient henges in England are currently being threatened by construction or roadway projects, including Stonehenge, but at least in the U.K. people are allowed to raise objections to them. In other places, archaeological relics don’t enjoy any protections at all. In China, government agencies often erect high walls around construction projects so that members of the public can’t catch a glimpse at anything that’s unearthed – and subsequently pulverized to make room for a new apartment high rise ghost town.
In Australia, activists are currently raising objections over the Queensland State Government’s plan to demolish the mysterious “Gympie Pyramid” in order to make room for a shiny new highway bypass. Is destroying this alleged archaeological mystery worth it to shorten commutes? What exactly lies under the ground in Gympie?
Ultimately, the Gympie Pyramid remains a mystery – although there are plenty theories as to who built it and why. Today, the structure consists of a series of stone terraces which have been mostly reclaimed by nature. It’s speculated that these once formed a pyramid some 30 meters (100 feet) tall, although a definitive archaeological excavation has never been performed. Local anecdotes say it was discovered sometime in the mid-19th century and that the structure pre-dates European colonization. Other theories say Chinese explorers might have built it as an outpost, ancient Egyptian sailors used it as a mining base camp, or even that Inca settlers built it due to its resemblance to South and Central American pyramids.
According to GympiePyramid.org, while no definitive origin has been found, “there have been many theories, from Phoenicians to the Spanish, and from aliens to modern Italian wine makers.” There is evidence of smelting at the site, and one of the stones apparently shows signs of ritual use:
Of great interest is the very large flat stone with the worked surface and hole which it seems unlikely, even unreasonable, to think of as anything but man made. Close study of this stone tends to ascribe it with some kind of unknown ritual or ceremonial function.
While the history and mystery surrounding the Gympie pyramid are fascinating, the truth of who built this structure might stay buried due to a proposed highway construction project which would demolish the hill on which the mysterious structure is found. That project was recently “fast-tracked” with an $800 million grant. Will this be another case of lost knowledge in the name of “progress,” urbanization, and never-ending growth? It’s likely. Who cares about some dumb rocks on a hill when we’ve got sweet government money to spend on loud machines that go ‘VROOM CRUNCH BOOM’? Fire those bulldozers up, boys. We’ve got history to destroy.