(ORDO NEWS) — Twenty kilometers east of Nanjing, China, lies the legendary Yangshan Quarry along the slope of Yangmenshan Mountain.
Although it is believed to have been in use since at least the Six Dynasties (220-589 AD), most of the work at Yangshan is still attributed to a wave of construction that occurred after the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, when the new emperor , Zhu Yuanzhang, chose nearby Nanjing as his capital.
As the story goes, the emperor’s son ordered the construction of a giant stele in 1405 AD for the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, which was built for his father, by his father, and then completed during his son’s reign.
The city’s masons chose the Yangshan Mining Quarry. It is believed that they cut and made three huge blocks of rock, after which they realized that the blocks they cut were too large. Then they abandoned this venture in favor of a more realistic project.
What size were these blocks?
The stele that these masons eventually created for the emperor is 6.7 meters high – 8.78 if the height of the stone turtle on which it is placed is taken into account, and together with the turtle weighs about 100 tons.
Once assembled, the stele, said to have been mistakenly erected, would have been eight times as tall, at 73 meters high, and three hundred and ten times as heavy, at 31,000 tons.
In comparison, a typical car weighs between 1 and 1.5 tons; the largest monolith in the ancient and modern world is the 1,250-ton Thunder Stone, moved by Russia in 1770 and resembling a rough takeaway that was never carved.
If this story is to be taken as genuine, it should be of concern for a number of reasons:
What could make the imperial masons believe that they could carry three blocks weighing a total of 31,000 tons twenty kilometers across the mountains?
How could such an incompetent group be entrusted with the construction of the emperor’s grand gift to his father?
Especially when you consider that in general we are talking about many, huge mistakes that were made over a very long period of time and in which a significant number of people were involved: it seems absurd that these efforts would not have been stopped almost immediately, let alone to be allowed to start at all.
Severe differences in the size, location, and shape of the slices indicate that they were never meant to be co-located or even moved. If that were the case, they would not have been carved at the same time and in such a different manner.
Consider the long conflict with the Mongols, which took a lot of resources and attention, and the fact that just a few years later, the bankrupt treasury of the country could not even find funds to create one copy of the newly created encyclopedia.
This busy period does not seem like the right time to start one of the most ambitious engineering projects known to man, a project that would be nothing more than a work of art.
More than a quarry
There is hardly any need to reconcile ourselves to this curious history, since a cursory examination of the site reveals many inclusions that would never have appeared if the site were just a quarry.
For example, in the above image, three rock outcroppings are visible. At first, they may seem like places for attaching ropes. However, their location quickly disproves this idea.
They can only be found on some stones, and on some of them they are grouped on one side. In addition, many of the lugs are fully rounded, making them poor rope grips. Some of them are also under where the block should have been cut.
Also, as seen in the same image, the smooth cylindrical segments have been removed in places that would serve no purpose if the blocks were removed.
It’s even harder to accept that these blocks were ever meant to be moved when looking at the patterns carved into the walls of the rooms that were created underneath these giant stone masses – as seen in the photos below.
Demonstration of entopic phenomena?
Engraved a centimeter or more, and sometimes deeper than an inch, these designs appear to have been etched into the interior surfaces of these structures in the same way that entoptic phenomena were incorporated into some of the oldest cave art in the world.
Entoptic phenomena in an archaeological context are patterns that naturally occur in the eyes or brain and are then used as a motif for art when their occurrence in normal human experience is greatly increased due to the person being in an altered state of consciousness; in other words, our ancient ancestors injected themselves into altered states of consciousness – usually with the help of naturally occurring psychedelic compounds – and then carved or painted entoptic phenomena, among other things, inside caves and on rocks.
If the engravings at this site are indeed evidence of entoptic phenomena, this realization may help place the site in a much deeper period of antiquity, since other examples of entoptic phenomena in cave art usually date back tens of thousands of years.
To be clear, these long, engraved line patterns are of course not the result of the simple removal of stone in these holes – at least not by any of the tools or methods attributed to ancient man; although many of them, especially along the side walls, really resemble what remains after the passage of a modern heavy excavator.
So why did the workers who are said to have mined these blocks take such an effort? The patterns look artistic, similar to those one would find in a ritual space. Also, oddly enough, they don’t look like what was made with a regular chisel.
A staggering amount of displaced rock
One particularly strange aspect of this place is how much stone has been moved around. Looking at the gaps between the main blocks and the surrounding mountains, it seems that millions of tons of rock were removed.
A quarry is known to have been in the area for some time, however this explanation is unlikely to explain the staggering amount of stone that appears to have been moved.
In addition, if this place was used for the extraction of stone, in order to then take it to another place, then this was done in a very bizarre way; as if an attempt was made to leave behind towering flat walls – this is not found in any other ancient quarry.
A more reasonable explanation seems to be that whoever worked at the site did so in order to create the structures found here. It would be a grandiose project, though not without precedent.
The Longyou Caves, several hundred miles away, are considered one of the largest engineering projects in the ancient world, although no one can determine who created them or why.
The same amount of stone was moved in the Yanmenshan area. In addition, the Longyu caves have very similar engraved line patterns as in the images above.
If the site does contain the ruins of some incredibly ancient culture, chances are they may have reduced their workload by using rubble and tamping techniques to form the various parts of the area.
These methods are quite simple – for example, rubble is the process of mixing small stones with cement and then using this material to fill wooden frames to make walls or blocks – and they had to be applied on an add-and-subtract basis; when the workers destroyed certain sections of the rock, they used the debris to fill in other sections of the site: while collecting giant stone creations, they simultaneously carved others.
Mystery without an answer
This place is not just a quarry. However, its original purpose is difficult to determine. It is only known that at least some material was removed from this site, so it is likely that during these works all small stone structures were dismantled, and everything that could be considered valuable or expensive was removed – for example, what could be found in a temple.
Adding more mystery to this place is the fact that China maintains a high level of secrecy regarding some of its strangest ancient ruins. Many sites are completely closed, and in general, it is almost impossible to get permission to excavate or explore any historical site.
Even more offensive and strange is that the existence of some megalithic objects is simply denied. For example, the hundreds of pyramids that cover the landscape of China have only been recognized in recent times; at first, these structures were downplayed as a few small mounds from the Han era.
To this day, areas with the largest and most interesting structures remain closed. Several known burial mounds are available to visit, and it is explained that all other existing pyramid-like structures are similar to those that can be seen.
It is also interesting to note that the Chinese government has since gone to great lengths to cover some of these pyramids with fast-growing conifers, apparently to hide their presence from aerial photography while degrading their structure.
Like most of the oldest works of art and architecture in our world, this creation appears to have belonged to a disparate culture that embodied a way of life radically different from our own.
And, like other ancient megalithic monuments, its builders seem to have used a technique long lost; a technique that probably originated from a completely different engineering tree that allowed for the processing and movement of huge stones, which was a much more practical exercise.
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