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    10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts #2: The Dropa Stones
    By Serra Head | June 21st 2012 11:03 AM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    I am an archaeology veteran of over five years, working to clear the world up on the topic of Pseudoarchaeology vs Archaeology. I'm happy ensconced...

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    The Dropa Stones are puzzling artifact #2 on the 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts list.

    These are “The” Dropa Stone images.

    What are the Dropa Stones?

    The Story of how the stones were found is kinda up in the air. The major story states that a Chinese archaeologist named Chu Pu Tei, found the stones in 1938/37 while he was looking at some caves. Inside the caves he found a series of graves that each contained a skeleton measuring a little over a meter in height (about 3 feet for the non-metric speaking). Buried with these tinny people were mysterious grooved stones, that became known as the Dropa Stones.

    Now, the stones made their way from Chu Pu Tei’s possession to that of another researcher by the name of Professor Tsum Um Nui, of the Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies. He was able to translate them, and he found out that the little people were indeed aliens and they had been hunted to near extinction by the local humans, because they were short and ugly. Apparently, the humans and  the aliens were able to solve their differences, because the aliens are also the supposed ancestors of the Dropa tribe, which is still around today.

    Somewhere in there the stones traveled to Russia, and were photographed, then lost, and pretty much everyone associated with them vanished as well. So now all we have are a few grainy pictures that look a lot like Bi discs, and no-one with first hand knowledge. Completely believable, Right? Right?

    To break this story down will take a bit. Let’s look at all the Red Flags:

    Red Flag #1 –  The story appears on several web sites, most of which looked copied and pasted, there is no author mentioned, and no citation.

    I went over why this is a red flag in the first post in this series on the Grooved Spheres.  There are a few occasions where no citations are ok, such as the above story where there is no real citation to give. Another time would be first hand or original research. The stories on these websites don’t fall into either category.

    Red Flag #2 – None of the names of any of the researchers appear to be real, and there is no record of  the Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies.

    This one is probably the most damning. None of the named participants in this hoax have any record of existing. On top of that, Professor Tsum Um Nui’s name isn’t even Chinese. It appears to be a badly adapted Japanese name.

    Of even more interest is the fictitious Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies. There is no such place in record, ever. Yet this is where Professor Tsum Um Nui supposedly translated the stones in only 24 years, which could be considered Red Flag #2.5.

    Red Flag #3  - The remains of the ‘aliens’ as well as the Dropa Stones have all managed to vanish, as well as anyone who might have ever seen the stones.

    There is so much wrong with this picture, not the least of which is the incredibly bad quality.

    There is no real way to verify if this picture is authentic, even the site where I found it is quick to point that out. Be that as it may, this tinny skeleton and the disks pictures at the beginning of the post are nowhere to be found. As a matter of fact, there is no mention of the remains recovered from the caves that Chu Pu Tei discovered, or of any other grave good recovered from those burials. There are no mentions of lost documentation, only a slight mention here and there that Chu Pu Tei might have written a report that was suppressed by the Chinese Government.  The only recovered items from the cave graves appear to be the stones, and those are lost within a few decades of discovery. So basically, there is no physical evidence, or any kind of written documentation, of the stones or the graves.

    Red Flag #4 – The few pictures we have the Dropa Stones are identical to what are called Bi Discs, which are known artifacts that are part of the Chinese culture.

    This one is pretty plain, but the Bi Discs got to be very elaborate in their decorations.

    The Bi Discs are flat disks made of jade with a hole in the center of the disk. Thousand’s have been recovered from Neolithic burials all over China[2]. They appear to be indicative of social status and rank [2], and were recently used in the Beijing Olympic Medals which were designed to look like bi discs on the back [3]. They also seem to be tied to the concept of Heaven (sky), and were very important in the day-to-day lives of ancient Chinese [2].

    These were gold, silver, and bronze medals with circles of jade inland into them.


    Red Flag #5 – The actual Dropa people.

    I spent a fair amount of time looking for these people in some kind of link I could give you. Pretty much the only one I can find that doesn’t mention these people as some kind of Alien-Human hybrid is Bad Archaeology. I’m not saying these people don’t exist somewhere in China, I’m just saying that I can’t find any academic sources to back up their existence in the first place. I’m also not saying that Bad Archaeology is not a good site, its exactly the opposite, I am saying that I would be much more comfortable talking about a group of people if I could find some anthropology sites or reports on them.

    So, you can clearly see the massive issues with this particular ancient artifact. Most of the UFO sites that I came across discounted the stones as a Hoax, going as far as to blame Von Daniken for really pushing the story. As far as anyone can tell the first mention of this story was in a German Vegetarian Magazine, and then the same story was translated and reprinted in a Russian yellow-rag two years later [4]. The story was never taken seriously and almost faded away till Von Daniken got hold of it, wrote two books about it,  and then another book named Sungods in Exile got published by an unnamed author under a nom-de-plume of David Agamon, who later came out and said the whole story was fiction [4]. Von Daniken hasn’t yet recanted.

    So, not only is the origin of the story of the Dropa Stones dubious, but the story itself is as well. There is no evidence of anything related to the stones, and no one to back up any of the claims made by the story. It’s even difficult to prove that the real Dropa tribe exists. All that can be said is somewhere, someone put pen to paper and wrote a story of a Chinese archaeologist finding something cool. That’s all you can prove, and that’s all these stones are, a really long-lived story.

    References:

    [1] “The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts.” http://www.ancientx.com/nm/anmviewer.asp?a=75. Accessed April 2 2012.

    [2] National Gallery of Art. The Golden Age of Chines Archaeology. http://www.nga.gov/education/chinatp_sl03.shtm. Accessed 4/14/2012.

    [3] http://en.beijing2008.cn/spirit/beijing2008/graphic/n214070893.shtml

    [4] Bad Archaeology. “The Dropa (or Dzopa) stones.” http://www.badarchaeology.com/?page_id=360 Accessed 4/14/2012