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BC’s Tales of the Pacific | Pacific mysteries worth investigating

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IF you’re still quarantined when you read this, and you need a break from reading, fishing and internet surfing, I recommend you try a little investigative work. From around the Pacific I have assembled a list of mysterious places to research.

Plain of Jars, Laos: At the northern end of the Annamese Cordillera, the main mountain range of Indochina, lies a massive spread of gigantic stone jars, some weighing fifteen tons. There are around ninety different fields of jars, with each field containing between one and over four hundred jars. Scientists believe the jars were used for burial purposes, but other explanations have been offered. Extensive bombing of the area during the Vietnam War in the 1960s has hindered efforts to study the jars further, but as bomb disposal crews clear the area, we are able to do more research. Were the stone jars used as coffins, or did they have some other purpose?

Saqsaywaman, Peru: Peru is home to many old, mysterious sites, many of which predate the famous Inca Empire. One such site is Saqsaywaman, an ancient city built using extremely advanced and impressive methods. The massive stones used to erect walls were carved and assembled using no mortar or joining material, yet the giant rocks fit so perfectly together that a piece of paper cannot be inserted between them. How did a people using primitive tools manage a level of precision that exceeds even our own?

Longyou Caves, China: In 1992 a group of Chinese farmers drained some local ponds, only to discover an immense group of hand-carved caves. These were not primitive, stone-age caves built by hunter-gatherers. The twenty-four caverns average 11,000 square feet in area and close to 100 feet in height, adding up to over 300,000 square feet of total space. But what was their purpose? Such monumental construction would have involved thousands of workers over a period of many years, yet there is no record of them. No one gave the command to build them and none of the workers left any evidence of their existence behind. If you had worked on such a project, would you not have spoken to your friends and family about it? If you were emperor who ordered the project, would you not have bragged out it in official government records? What was their purpose? Why was their existence forgotten to history?

Masuda Rock Ship, Japan: The Pacific area is sprinkled with megalithic sites, from Nan Madol on Pohnpei to the Moai of Easter Island. Japan houses several giant stone mysteries, but let’s take just one, the Masuda Rock Ship. It is a gigantic carved rock, weighing many tons, yet carved with incredible precision, once again confounding scientists who struggle to understand how a premodern people with primitive tools could have accomplished such work. As with the other mysterious sites mentioned here, many attribute the work to aliens or supernatural sources. How was it carved and what was its purpose?

Novarupta, Alaska: While the previous mysterious sites mentioned here clearly have human origins, I want to include a natural site, not so much because it is mysterious, but because many are not familiar with the largest volcanic eruption in the Pacific region in the 20th century. It wasn’t Pinatubo, although that was close. Novarupta erupted in 1912 and expelled thirty times more ash than Mount St. Helens, three cubic miles of it, in fact. In recent times, only Pinatubo comes close, and looking back over time only Tabora of 1815 belongs in the same category. I have always thought that Novarupta deserves more attention than it has gotten in the history books.

Enjoy researching these sites. Hopefully you can clear up some of the mystery, answer some of the many questions. The internet will provide plenty of information and pics so that you can dazzle everyone at your next social gathering, sometime after Covid-19 has left our midst.

BC Cook, PhD lived on Saipan and has taught history for 20 years. He currently resides on the mainland U.S.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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