The ambiguous ruins of Nan Madol

In a remote area of the Pacific Ocean there is an extraordinary archaeological site almost unknown. His name is Nan Madol and starting from Europe or America takes many hours of flight to reach it. It’s located in Micronesia, on an island called Pohnpei (Ponape), located at over 1,600 miles east of Guam. The island and hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest land, and is surrounded by an insidious barrier reef that separates it from the rest of the world. If you are not familiar with these waters is difficult to reach unharmed.


You have to rent a speedboat and be led by local people. After about 45 minutes by boat along the coast you will reach the site. Near the island the water is shallow, you have to go on a canoe. Suddenly appear in the ruins. Do not resemble any of the known ancient buildings. The walls are reminiscent of the huts of wood but are made with enormous stones of volcanic origin. More argon offshore; arise imposing stone breakwaters to protect islands from the violence of the sea. About 2000 years ago these rocks were detached by a relief of the island of Pohnpei whih fire. The rocks were heated and then cooled with water and then transported to their final destination. All this happened on a tiny remote island in the Pacific with a population of only 25,000 people. But the most spectacular thing is not the walls. The islands themselves are man-made. Close to the shore the water is low. Who built Nan Madol used rafts to transport the volcanic rock and created a myriad of artificial islets. Overall, according to the scholars were built with this system 92 islands. They are buildings with columns of basalt hexagonal and octagonal (about 300,000), scattered over a length of over 24 km. The whole is enclosed by a protective wall 8 feet high also. The people of Nan Madol without the use of metal tools created an extraordinary project.

On the island cross hundreds of shallow channels; it is as if it were a prehistoric Venice.

Religion is designed for a fundamental role in the design of pyramidal structures and impressive tombs; but they also served leaders of great prestige to govern. The main lineage recognized on testimonies handed down orally, brought peace among some rival clans then exploited the local manpower to build sepulchres and other residences.


Antiquity this happened often; did not make much difference to live in Egypt or in the far Pacific. There was always a despot who did build great monuments. The tests made with carbon 14 the buildings date back to 1180 and A.C. but it is a date that seems too recent for this extraordinary desert city of stone where the Micronesians peoples today does not come close for fear of spirits. Perhaps to advance, to delay the need for a serious and thorough study place from the ruins of Nan Madol , helped by the fact that one of the first to deal with was, in the late nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century, a character who did not enjoy any credit at mainstream science: the British Colonel James Churchward, a scholar of esotericism. If you are interested to know more, can read his ponderous volumes, which have been translated into Italian.

In the thirties of the last century, James O’Connell, an Irish sailor, was abandoned on Pohnpei. The circumstances of the arrival of O’Connell are unclear: in his memoirs he claimed to have been shipwrecked with the John Bull near Pleasant Island to Pohnpei, reaching it in just four days. Once there, he wrote O’Connell, he and his comrades revere attacked by “cannibals” and very nearly were served for lunch; However, they managed to divert from their native resolutions (at least so they thought) with a rousing Irish jig. O’Connell But the adventures were not over; was subjected to a ritual tattoo of a young pohnpeiana, which resulted daughter of a chief; then he married her, and he became leader of islands. What are exaggerations of O’Connell (sailors have a tendency to tell stories, and some scholars consider him a compulsive liar), he was still a curious and careful observer. He was the first European to call Pohnpei or Ponape with the indigenous name (in his handwriting, Bonabee); be the first to give accurate descriptions of many rituals and customs pohnpeiani; be the first to compile a glossary of the local language; Finally, the first to have seen the ruins of Nan Madol: the remains of a monumental culture dating back two thousand years ago. The exploration of Nan Madol was the highlight of the adventure pohnpeiana of O’Connell, he described the “ancient ruins” with minute attention, until their mysterious abandonment and their change into taboo place .

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32 risposte a "The ambiguous ruins of Nan Madol"

  1. Thank you and please read more from my blogs in the future. I checked a government site on Nan Madol. They said it started from 1200 to 1700 and that it is a great place for visitors. I like reading about ancient places such as Egypt. There is Cush which is older than Egypt. Researchers have worked for a long time there. History is so very important. Take care.

    Piace a 3 people

    1. Thanks for reporting, I’ll try to read your blog. I probably missed the date as soon as I have time to review the notes in this article. For what concerns Egypt in the future I would like to write an article about Giovanni Battista Belzoni.

      Piace a 1 persona


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