150,000-Year-Old Pipes in China

150,000-Year-Old Pipes Baffle Scientists in China: Out of Place in Time?


By Tara MacIsaac Epoch Times

Oopart (out of place artifact) is a term applied to dozens of prehistoric objects found in various places around the world that seem to show a level of technological advancement incongruous with the times in which they were made. Ooparts often frustrate conventional scientists, delight adventurous investigators open to alternative theories, and spark debate.

In a mysterious pyramid in China’s Qinghai Province near Mount Baigong are three caves filled with pipes leading to a nearby salt-water lake. There are also pipes under the lake bed and on the shore. The iron pipes range in size, with some smaller than a toothpick. The strangest part is that they may be about 150,000 years old.

Dating done by the Beijing Institute of Geology determined these iron pipes were smelted about 150,000 years ago, if they were indeed made by humans, according to Brian Dunning of 

And if they were made by humans, history as it is commonly viewed would have to be re-evaluated.

The dating was done using thermoluminescence, a technique that determines how long ago crystalline mineral was exposed to sunlight or heated. Humans are only thought to have inhabited the region for the past 30,000 years. Even within the known history of the area, the only humans to inhabit the region were nomads whose lifestyle would not leave any such structures behind.

The state-run news agency Xinhua in China reported on the pyramid, the pipes, and the research began by a team scientists sent to investigate in 2002. 

Though some have since tried to explain the pipes as a natural phenomenon, Yang Ji, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua the pyramid may have been built by intelligent beings. He did not dismiss the theory that ancient extraterrestrials may be responsible, saying this theory is “understandable and worth looking into … but scientific means must be employed to prove whether or not it is true.”

Another theory is that it was built by prehistoric humans with techniques lost to humans of a later period. 

The pipes lead into a salty lake, though a twin lake nearby contains freshwater. The surrounding landscape is strewn with what Xinhua described as “strangely shaped stones.” Rocks protrude from the ground like broken pillars.

The head of the publicity department at the local Delingha government told Xinhua the pipes were analyzed at a local smeltery and 8 percent of the material could not be identified. The rest was made up of ferric oxide, silicon dioxide, and calcium oxide. The silicon dioxide and calcium oxide are products of long interaction between the iron and surrounding sandstone, showing the ancient age of the pipes. Liu Shaolin, the engineer who did the analysis, told Xinhua: “This result has made the site even more mysterious.”

“Nature is harsh here,” he said. “There are no residents let alone modern industry in the area, only a few migrant herdsmen to the north of the mountain.”

To further add to the mystery, Zheng Jiandong, a geology research fellow from the China Earthquake Administration told state-run newspaper People’s Daily in 2007 that some of the pipes were found to be highly radioactive.  

Other Theories

Jiandong said iron-rich magma may have risen from deep in the Earth, bringing the iron into fissures where it would solidify into tubes. Though he admitted, “There is indeed something mysterious about these pipes.” He cited the radioactivity as an example of the strange qualities of the pipes.

Others have said iron sediments may have washed into the fissures, carried with water during floods.

Though Xinhua and other publications in China have referred to a pyramid or even a mysterious pyramid in which the pipes were found, some have said it was a pyramid-shaped natural formation. 

Another theory is that the pipes are fossilized tree roots.  Xinmin Weekly reported in 2003  that scientists found plant matter in an analysis of the pipes, and they also found what looked like tree rings. The article related the finding to a geological theory that in certain temperatures and under certain chemical conditions, tree roots can undergo diagenesis (transformation of soil into rock) and other processes that can produce iron formations.

Reports on the tree-root explanation for the so-called Baigong pipes often lead back to this Xinmin Weekly article or lack citation. It’s unclear exactly how well-supported this theory is in relation to the Baigong pipes.

An article published  in the Journal of Sedimentary Research in 1993 describes fossilized tree roots in South Louisiana in the United States.

Featured image: Baigong Cave, with photo of pipe in the bottom left. Source.

The article " 150,000-Year-Old Pipes Baffle Scientists in China: Out of Place in Time? " was first published by Epoch Times


Roberto Peron's picture

My initial impression would be that they are fossilzed tree roots.  But, then again, I think we greatly underestimate ancient humanity.  They weren't quite the club carrying throwbacks that they've been made out to be IMO.  As for brain size?  I think intelligence has more to do with how the brain is wired not size.  Neanderthals had bigger brains than modern humans but Homo sapiens are thought to be much more intelligent even though we have smaller brains.  So if it is brain size that marks intelligence then how do we explaim the big brained Neanderthals?  China had a very advanced ancient civilization so it would not surprise me at all if they made these iron pipes and used hem for carrying water.  

Hello all.
Mankind, as we know it today, has been present on planet earth for approx.50 million years. Other intelligent species existed here before that, but 50 million years is the current age of mankind... I have it from good authority... Shocked me a bit when this information was passed to me, but years of personal reading and research have done little to dissuade me,,, in fact quite the opposite.

In the world of arcane literature, one of the most enigmatic works to surface is the mysterious Voynich Manuscript. Although Wilfrid Michael Voynich, (1865-1930)
Polish/Lithuanian, American, took possession of the document in 1912, he was certainly not the author. Of the manuscript’s 240 vellum pages, because of numbering gaps, it is believed there were 273 or more pages, originally. The pages have been carbon dated (C14) to the early 14th century, thus, considered authentic but the original author is still as mysterious as the work itself. Nothing is known about where the manuscript originated except it had been owned by an obscure 17th Century alchemist named, Georg Baresch but even he could not interpret it.
The manuscript seems to be a journal of sorts, written by an unknown author, in an unknown script about unknown subjects. Even though not one written letter in the manuscript remotely resembles any known script, the writing displays a probable ductus suggesting it is of a language quite familiar, if not native, to the writer. There have been accusations the script is a “made up” forgery. This conclusion seems more of a default opinion when so-called experts don’t have provable answers and/or the subjects fall outside of accepted paradigms. However, the flow of individual characters, even with subtle variations,-- each letter displays a personal inflection and style that appears peculiar to the writer. This is indicative of ease of intent and execution which a forgery could not duplicate and would become obvious in the overall text. As a another marker, One can see where each line has definitive contrast, (as the writer dipped the pen in ink), indicating a consistent writing speed. Considering the manuscript being a forgery is highly unlikely.
It is very possible the author realized the plant species and other aspects of the region were indeed unusual and recorded them for further research. It also may have been a pharmacopoeia of rare herbal remedies which were available but known only in that region and used by a specific guild of practitioners, possibly alchemy related. Since true alchemy was discredited by contemporary scientist who believed it was nothing more than charlatans attempting to fabricate gold from lead, the original art has been lost. Perhaps some practitioners of the true art included the manuscript as notes for greater work in their library of nostrums.
A few pages do show drawings that resemble wild pansy, maiden fern and a water lily (ref. f2v) but the rest have strange leaf shapes and odd little flower clusters that differ from normal plants. Most plant leaf have a pointed end called, a “drip tip” where rain water and dew condensation are channeled off. However, the manuscript’s plant leaf have no such tips but feature odd leaf shapes inconsistent with normal terrestrial grown plants. This fact supports the plants may have grown in closed environments where there is very little or no rain fall or significant dew formation. Some have conjectured colouring was added at a later date of origination. The green colour in the pictures may have been added for aesthetics rather than an accurate presence of chlorophyll in plants or grasses(?) Root systems depicted as would normally grow in fairly dense soil. There is also a lack of full grown trees anywhere in the text.
One may see a resemblance in Charles Darwin’s diary as he explored the Galapagos Islands, making descriptive notations and drawings of plant life and animals he encountered there.
From a cursory observation, One may consider the manuscript as meticulous notes either taken from direct observation or copied in part from a much larger work. It can be safety deduced from the detailed drawings, the author’s source apparently possessed extensive knowledge of plant structure and biology.
This section concludes with what could be likened to a kind of almanac and/or zodiac which may have something to do with seasonal plant growth trends and harvesting methods.
Further on, the author includes drawings of small groups of females sitting or standing in tub-like apparatus or containers connected by odd pipes or duct work. From these conduits appears to flow with water from one to another. One of the most revealing pictures depicts what appears to be naked females descending below the surface terrain . This does not seem an allegorical descent but a literal entrance to a subterranean region. See f75r.
There seems to be an opening where hills or mountains are exposed to the sky but below this opening appears to be a path on which these women descend into the depths(?),-- but to where? The fact every page has these naked females may indicate the author may also have been female.
Pages f78r and f78v indicate a source of water comes from a tree or some kind of plant from which it flows copiously through conduits or pipes. On page f78v, the women seem to be in, or on a structure with several window openings near the bottom. In nearly all pages, the women are thigh deep in some green material possibly thick grass or weeds. From depictions in f82r, f82v, f83r and f83v; the women are standing knee deep in small devices filled with water(?) and further indications they are using them as contrivances with which they move about! Some pictures show them in these devices while hand assembling and connecting pipes or conduits. To illustrate they are underground, on page, f84r, women appear to be in a cave where water is issuing from a ceiling of rounded stones or groups of protuberances. The water then flowing down to lower levels where other women with fancy headdresses collect it in vessels. f79v: This picture shows a woman being consumed by a fish at the lower level while others near the top of an elaborate aqueduct system enjoy a “shower“. Note the woman holding a cross. In this section, the only men pictured are in the upper right of pages f80r and f77v.
There is another section where a six page folio (f85v) shows what could be a map of how nine strange realms are connected. In the upper most left, a circular image appears to be an entrance hole with soil strata. Above it, there are mountains and a sun image indicating the entrance is accessible from some surface area. From what could be the bottom, there is a curving bridge leading to something else. There is an arrangement of five apparently large conduits pointing to another central region suggesting a core with many connected pipes. See:
The last section deals with groups of herbal roots and leaf combinations that have corresponding decorative containers for each group. The rest of the manuscript is a continuous unknown text of 23 pages.
Conclusion: The manuscript seems to describe a unknown realm or possibly subterranean region dominated by a matriarchy employing a technology based on manipulation of water. Considering the population is relatively small, could it be an asylum, penal colony or exalted recluse of some sort? Whether this is a fanciful tale or actual place is a matter of pure conjecture. Without any viable translation of the strange text, it would be impossible to determine veracity or purpose of the work or subjects therein.
I would like to add a note that may or may not be relevant. I have noticed a common theme among the many opinions of those who’ve studied copies of the manuscript, including myself; -- that it seems oddly familiar in some way. Of course, the document has been known and published many times since it’s public introduction, which may account for this familiarity.

Possible links to subterranean origins

What lends some plausibility is the fact there are many cultural accounts of subterranean civilizations from all over the world. In the U.S., the Hopi and Navaho Native Americans claim to have originated from an underground world long ago. There is supposedly the vast and very ancient civilization of Agharta beneath Mt Shasta, where survivors of Lemuria now inhabit. They retreated to this subterranean region when the island sank beneath the Pacific Ocean floor some 40,000 years ago. Skeptics claiming the continent never existed fail to explain the mystery of extensive petroglyphs on the Nasca Plains of Peru, which cannot be seen entirely except from high above ground. Or why some lines end abruptly at the precipice of sheer cliffs on the west coast of South America. Some of those mysterious lines appear as if they originally continued on to terrain further west before the now absent land mass suddenly broken off long ago.
In 1947, the US government sent Admiral Richard E. Byrd on an expedition to the Artic Circle, ostensibly in search of uranium deposits. Byrd came back with a tale of an ancient subterranean civilization with warnings to mankind against continued use of atomic weaponry.
Within the Earth’s surface mantel, there are many enormous caverns and catacombs which could support entire civilizations provided inhabitants possessed sufficient technology to sustain life. Perhaps the manuscript is the result of some ancient explorer’s account of one of these places.
Throughout Earth’s 4.5 billion year history, there have many high civilizations destroyed by catastrophe, each followed by subsequent dark ages. The skeptical scientific community ask why there is no apparent evidence found supporting high civilizations on sunken continents of the ancient past. The answer is simple: Tectonic subduction -- which acts as a natural conveyor, carries submerged artifacts and structures beneath the lithospheric plates.
In nearly every example, during such dark ages, there is little or no recognition or knowledge of the prior civilization(s). Thus, it is a time of ignorance or dark age. From all indications, modern society is emerging from just another dark age, ignorant of mysteries of many lost histories. Although modern scientist are predisposed to discrediting any notion of technological civilizations in the ancient past, there are surviving remnants all over the planet. The problem scientist face is the reality you cannot simply excuse the fact something exist. Earth is well over 4 billion years old, and has hosted many civilizations -- both Earth borne and of extraterrestrial origins. One of the more compelling recent mysteries involves the Voynich Manuscript.
In 2009, the University of Arizona carbon 14 dated velum pages and ink of the codex journal to have originated between 1404 and 1438, proven to be an unsolved enigma for nearly 600 years. Within its velum pages, reveals a subterranean realm where life has existed for untold millenia, hidden, or (more accurately) ignored, by extant surface dwellers.
Who wrote it, when, or even what it says remains a mystery to this day. However, one aspect may be relevant to the aforementioned subject of iron pipes found in China and Indus valley regions. Throughout the manuscript are numerous depictions of individual or grouped pipes and conduits bearing water. Scientist espouse the belief ancient first humans sought shelter in caves. But what if those first(?) humans actually emerged from those caves as passages from deeper subterranean regions that provided protection from a much earlier natural or "other induced" disasters? This planet has far too many mysteries that simply cannot be explained by popularly accepted history.

I think we humans have amnesia of the highest form. We can't even remember or agree on history that merely go back 50 years.

Even people like Graham Hancock admit that Puma Punku is not as old as they said. And you can't radio carbon date stone, just organic material.


Next article