The Caves of
Huang ShanResearch Report by Gregor Spörri
Huang Shan is a mountain range under the administration of the city of Huangshan and is located in the southern Chinese province of Anhui. The first historical records about Huang Shan – which means Flower Mountain – are a good 3000 years old. Records from the Han Dynasty period say Taoists have been making pilgrimages to Huang Shan for at least 2200 years to meditate at the mountain with five peaks, which resembles petals of an open flower.
At the lower reaches of Xin’an, 12 kilometres from Huangshan City, an unknown civilization carved out of the mountain a massive seven-square-kilometre underground facility. The ‘Blumenberg’ is almost hollow due to the construction of this plant inside. Chinese researchers have so far located 36 grottoes. However, they suspect more caves and believe that they could all be connected to each other.
When it was discovered in 1999, the entire cave system was completely under water. In the meantime, the entrance area of cave 24 can be navigated with small boats. Caves 2 and 35 have been largely pumped empty, cleared of debris and mud, and can therefore be entered. Although the Chinese eagerly documented everything contemporary, no records of these caves exist. Nor have the locals developed any traditions or legends, as would have been expected with such a gigantic construction project.
In Longyou Province, 100 kilometers from Huang Shan, numerous other caves of very similar construction have been discovered. Except for a single one that has been pumped out and protected by a dike wall, they too are deeply submerged. Whether they can ever be explored is questionable, because pumping out the water makes the rock surrounding the caves unstable, which could cause them to collapse.
Grotto No 35
Before Grotto No. 35 could be explored, 20,000 cubic meters of mud and debris had to be removed from the mountain, and over 18,000 tons of water had to be pumped out. Of the caves explored so far: Nos. 2, 24, 33, 34 and 35, the U-shaped No. 35 is the largest. It covers an area of 12,600 square meters. The deeper areas are still about two meters under water. The depth gradient within the facility is an impressive 25 meters. The ceilings are supported by columns measuring up to 4 x 9 meters and 18 meters high.
As soon as you enter the warm and humid grotto with its 36 rooms and halls, you feel transported to a completely different world. In some places you think you are walking through the set of a fantasy film. Bizarrely shaped columns, pedestals, niches, bridges, pits and paths show mysterious shapes and structures that exist nowhere else in the world.
But that’s not all – my amazement is just beginning. There are, for example, all these strange-looking mighty pits, niches and stairs in Grotto No. 2 and 35, which seem to be made for giants …
Added to this is the techno-like, almost extraterrestrial-looking design of walls and columns. Can primitive Stone Age people have made such a thing? Hardly!
And then there are ornamental patterns running hundreds of meters across ceilings and walls, which are so precisely crafted that one cannot help but assume that the builders of the caves were at work with modern milling machines.
The theses of Chinese experts and my objections
So far, there is no explanation for the existence of the gigantic facilities. The Chinese researchers therefore have only one puzzle and develop different hypotheses. Here is a selection:
The Quarry Thesis
The ancient Chinese dug these caves to build their houses with the stones taken out. The stones were transported by ships over the nearby Xin’an River.
Objection 1: For the construction of houses, the stones could have been extracted much more easily in open-cast mining.
Objection 2: Although more than 200,000 cubic metres of rock were taken from the mountain, which corresponds to about 5,500 open freight wagons, there is not a single house that would have been built from the unmistakable spotted stones of the Blumenberg.
Objection 3: When the stones were knocked out of the mountain, the water level must have been a good 30 meters lower than it is today. The Xin’an, even at the current water level no deep river, may have been a stream at that time at best. The thesis of the removal of the stones by ships thus literally falls into the water.
Objection 4: The relatively small accesses to the grottoes, the bizarre design as well as the partly finely worked out detais and ornamental patterns on ceilings, walls and columns, contradict the quarry thesis.
The Deposit thesis
The caves were once used as storage facilities for the military. Chinese historiography states that around 1120 there had been a major peasant uprising in the area.
Objection 1: Based on the length of stalactites, scientists have calculated that the caves must have been created before the year 300.
Objection 2: The bizarre design as well as the partly finely worked out detais and ornamental patterns on ceilings, walls and columns are at odds with the deposit theory.
The Temple Thesis
The caves were once used by Buddhist monks as temples for meditation.
Objection 1: The caves lack the typical depictions of Buddhist deities. There are no murals or carvings.
Objection 2: The whole complex is far too huge for one or more temples.
Objection 3: It is illogical for monks to retreat to meditating into dark cavers underground. Inquiries from Buddhist monks confirm my objection.
The Mausoleum Thesis
The caves were built as an imperial mausoleum. An ancient Chinese proverb says that it is an honor to live in Suzhou, to die in Liuzhou and to be buried in Huizhou (Huangshan).
Objection 1: The Chinese have always been very willing to write, if imperial families were actually responsible for this great work, there would certainly be historical records about it.
Objection 2: The whole complex is far too huge for a mausoleum.
The Protective Bunker Thesis
The caves were created by an ancient culture as a shelter against a cosmic catastrophe. Apparently they were unsuccessful because there are no records, legends or legends about it.
This thesis is supported by: There are many very old underground caves around the world, of which no one knows who built them, when and for what.
Objection: The bizarre design as well as the partly finely worked out detais and decorative patterns on ceilings, walls and columns are at odds with the protective bunker thesis.
The multigenerational thesis
The caves are not the project of a single dynasty or period. They were created over hundreds or thousands of years and served a variety of purposes over generations.
This thesis is supported by: The quality of the design is very different. Different stages of expansion are therefore a possibility. There are also up to 21 different ornamental patterns on the ceilings, walls, columns, pits, etc.
Objection: The different ornamental patterns are sometimes very close to each other, or even overlap. From this one can conclude that they must have been created at the same time or at least very promptly. For example, there are rectangular pits (tombs?) in which max. two people could work without obstructing each other. Nevertheless, the walls are covered with different patterns.
One of many puzzles
In the grotto No 35 there is a 450 square meter ceiling with a slant of 45 degrees. Using infrared rays, researchers found that the wall has the same angle as the edge on the outside of the mountain, and the strength of the rock between the wall and the mountain flank is just under five metres. How on earth could the Stone Age workers know exactly where they were in the mountain? With what equipment could they calculate the angle of the wall opposite the mountain side? In addition, no traces of soot or other signs of light generated by fire were discovered in the grotto. How could they build this massive facility without appropriate lighting?
Basic considerations and questions
Across the world, there are buildings and artificial cave systems that are up to 35 metres underwater. When these buildings were built, the sea level must have been about 30-35 meters lower. But when what? The last ice age began about 110,000 years ago and ended about 12,000 years ago. During the 100,000-year cold-time period, there was massive climate change. This was accompanied by extensive glaciations and a drop in sea level. The post-glacial thawing or warm-time period in which we are still today (the topic of global warming) began about 12,000 years ago. This was and still is associated with a rise in sea level.
Buildings that are now around 30 metres underwater must be (tectonic shifts excluded), i.e. around 10,000 years old, because they could not be built in more recent times. According to this simple but captivating logic, the caves of Huang Shan also date from a time before the ‘biblical flood’.
But what kind of people lived at that time? According to official historiography, these were cave dwellers and Stone Age people. So who can build these and many other enigmatic miracle buildings?
Open to the world
Some Chinese scientists are now open enough to consider the thesis of the Paleo-SETI. In their opinion, the caves were built in prehistoric times with the support of travelers from space. At the entrance to the grottoes, this thesis is even publicly collected on an information board.