When I hear the word “Cave” I immediately think “rough”. ‘Cause I’ve never really seen a smooth cave. Up until this moment. The caves in question? The Longyou Grotto (Longwho? Longme?). Who do you think carved these caves? A bunch of miners? Some hipster architect trying to make a house so underground that no one’s heard about it? A prepper building a bunker?? If you answered any of the above you are wronger than football bat! This cave complex was carved more than 2,000 years ago by I-have-no-idea-who and looks like it was done by people who had access to all modern tools! No kidding, Folks, this thing has ceilings that are up to 30 meters tall in some parts of the cave, an average floor surface of 1,200 square meters, an overall excavation of roughly 900,000 cubic meters, 4 columns that are symmetrically distributed inside one of the caves and many other incredible traits that make you wonder “How the hell did they do that!?”. Not to mention the enigmatic tool marks on the walls that make it look like they used some sort of heavy-duty industrial grade machinery to carve them.
Hit the break to see a bunch more photos and learn more about the Longyou Grotto.
In June, 1992, a villager named Wu Anai, decided to pump the water out in one of the locally known caves revealing the first of many man-made caves in the region. After 17 days pumping, enough water had been removed to reveal the cave including several carved stelae, thus confirming his idea that they were not natural reservoirs at all, but rather man-made. The floor of the grotto occupies more than 2,000 square meters, with the tallest point of the cave exceeding 30 meters. The four steles of cave 1 are symmetrically distributed. Following this discovery, he continued to pump out another four caves only to find that they all bore the same markings on the walls and ceilings.
A rough estimation of the workload involved in building these five caves is awe-inspiring. The four caves cover an average floor surface of 1,200 square meters, so each of the caves should have involved excavation of 36,000 cubic meters of stone. Since a total of at least 24 such caves have already been found in Shiyanbei Village, the overall excavation would be 900,000 cubic meters. (1)
The chiselling on the cave walls and ceilings was executed in such a way that it has left them covered in a uniform pattern which some people believe is symbolic. It is similar to pottery found in the nearby museum which is dated between 500 and 800 BC.
So, wait, they used just pottery to date the culture who built this to an era from 500 to 800 B.C.? What if that settlement came after the whole thing was already built!? Or carved… Whatever. I mean, The pottery apparently can be found in different parts of China, however there are absolutely no other cave complexes similar to this one. That could only mean one thing: The cave complex was already there when the people who made the pottery settled in the area.
In Cave 1, which has been opened for tourism, stone carvings executed in a craftsmanship of ancient simplicity, of horse, fish and bird, may be seen (Land, Water and Air). The bird head has an appearance similar to one unearthed at the Hemudu site. (2)
Like most villages in southern China, there are numerous ponds in Shiyanbei, but these are mostly rectangular, and very deep, having been known as “bottomless ponds” by generations of villagers. These ponds teem with fish, which are easily caught. After the first cave was pumped dry not a single fish was to be seen. (2)
This discovery has called the attention of many specialists from China, Japan, Poland, Singapore and USA. One of the most interesting and challenging questions is how the caverns have been able to keep their integrity for more than 2000 years. (3)
Until more research is conducted on these caves we’ll never know what they were really created for or who carved them so for now I will just assume they are ancient bunkers from a previous incarnation of the human race to survive a doomsday meteorite impact.