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 Location: Pohnpei, Micronesia, Pacific Ocean.  Grid Reference: 06' 57” N, 158' 12” E.

 

      Nan Modal: (Island Citadel).

Nan Madol is a ruined city that lies off the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei (presently one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia) and used to be the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty until about AD 1500. The city consists of over 90 small artificial islands linked by a network of canals and is often called the Venice of the Pacific. The name Nan Madol means "spaces between" and is a reference to the canals that criss-cross the ruins.

On Nan Madol there is no fresh water and no food. One must go inland to gather water and grow food.

Excavations designed to reveal architectural building stages and style changes verify more than 2000 years of occupation and possibly a 1000 year span of major construction activity from A.D. 500 to 1500. 

(Map with Location)

 

 

   Nan Modal:

Nan Madol was the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur dynasty, which united Pohnpei's estimated 25,000 people. Set apart on the main island of Pohnpei, it was a scene of human activity as early as the first or second century AD. By the 8th or 9th century islet construction had started, but the distinctive megalithic architecture was probably not begun until perhaps the 12th or early 13th century.

The highly stratified social system at Nan Madol is the earliest known example of such centralized political power in the western Pacific. Within the city, social hierarchy was reflected in the size of the residences built within the compounds, the largest being the homes of the chiefly elite. Excavations of these elite residences have revealed the presence of beads and other ornaments, which may have marked their owner's social status.

 

 

Tradition:

Pohnpeian tradition claims that the builders of the Lelu complex on Kosrae (likewise composed of huge stone buildings) migrated to Pohnpei, where they used their skills and experience to build the even more impressive Nan Madol complex. However, this is unlikely because radiocarbon dates have placed the construction of Nan madol prior to that of Lelu. Like Lelu, one major purpose of constructing a separate city was to insulate the nobility from the common people.


 

A local story holds that when Nan Madol was being built a powerful magician living in the well inhabited region on the northwest of the island was solicited, and that his help was a major factor in completing the building. In particular, he was responsible for supplying the huge stone "logs" used in much of Nan Madol by "flying" them from their source to the construction site.

An intriguing aspect of Nan Madol is the close correlation between the oral history of the site and evidence unearthed during archaeological excavations. For example, oral traditions make references to small canals cut into the islets, allowing sacred eels to enter from the sea so that they could be honoured through the sacrifice of captured sea turtles. Subsequent excavations have revealed traces of both the small canals and the sacrificial turtles.

Native Taiwanese populations carry the purest form of Asian specific Human Lymphocyte Antigens (A24-Cw8-B48, A24-Cw9-B61 and A24-Cw10-B60) . Studies have showed that the Taiwan area was the centre of dispersal for the; Tibetans, Thais, Tlingit, Kwakuitl, Haida, Hawaiian, Maori, Pima, Maya, Yakut, Inuit, Buryat, Man, Japanese from Shizuoka and Orochon from North East China. (1) This major dispersal event, which happened about 6,000 years ago, suggests a major catastrophic event, such as flooding of the coastline, which caused an exodus of people, from which many new civilizations were born. Mysterious megalithic monuments on Taiwan and numerous underwater ruins north of Taiwan such as near Yonaguni confirm that a significantly organized society once existed in this area as much as 10,000 years ago and was destroyed by rapidly rising sea levels. Interestingly, a flood is mentioned in the following Hawaiian legend, where it mentions a great flood on a continent, which resulted in a drift voyage, and their arrival in Alaska.  

'The ancestors of the Hawaiian race came not from the islands the South Pacific – for the immigrants from that direction were late arrivals there. – but from the northern direction (welau lani), that is, from the land of Kalonakikeke, now known as Alaska.

According to this tradition, a great flood that occurred during the reign of Kahiko-Luamea on the continent of Ka-Houpo-o-Kane, (Ta'pen Keng is the ancient name for Taiwan) and carried away a floating log of wood named Konikonihia. On this log was a precious human cargo and it came to rest on the land of Kalonakikeke (Alaska).

On this log was the first man and woman who came to Kalonakikeke from the continent of Ka-Houpo-o-Kane, they were Kalonakiko-ke ("Mr Alaska") and his wife Hoomoe-a-pule ("Woman of my dreams"). They were said to both be high chiefs of the countries of Kanaka-Hikina (person of the east) and Kanaka-Komohana (person of the west) and were descended from the great great ancestor Huka-ohialaka.

‘Many generations later, Chief Nuu, travelled with his wife, Lilinoe, their three sons and their three wives in a canoe called Ka-Waa-Halau-Alii-O-Ka-Moku (the royal canoe of the continent), and it rested apon Mauna Kea (white mountain), on the island of Hawaii. They were the first Hawaiians'.

From ‘The Ancient Hawaiian History of Hookumu Ka Lani & Hookumu Ka Honua', by Solomon L.K. Peleioholani.

 

Columnar basalt:

The origin  of the rock is no mystery, there are basalt quarries on the mainland which are  identified as being the most likely source for the stone. Other similar natural formations are found at other locations around the world:

The 'Devils post-piles', USA (left) and The 'Giants Causeway', Ireland (right)

 

(More about the Prehistoric Pacific)

(Other Underwater Sites)

 

 

 

The 'Rough Guide' to ancient sites from around the world.

 

References:

1). http://www.users.on.net/~mkfenn/GeneticsrewritesPacificprehistory.htm
12).  The atlas of mysterious places. Guild publishing. 1987

 

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