Monday, November 30, 2009

Dropa Stones: Ancient Find

This find has intrigued me for years and I thought I’d share the story, in case you haven’t heard of the Dropa Stones.

From the site:

In 1938, an archeological expedition led by Dr. Chi Pu Tei into the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains of China made an astonishing discovery in some caves that had apparently been occupied by some ancient culture. Buried in the dust of ages on the cave floor were hundreds of stone disks. Measuring about nine inches in diameter, each had a circle cut into the center and was etched with a spiral groove, making it look for all the world like some ancient phonograph record some 10,000 to 12,000 years old. The spiral groove, it turns out, is actually composed of tiny hieroglyphics that tell the incredible story of spaceships from some distant world that crash-landed in the mountains. The ships were piloted by people who called themselves the Dropa, and the remains of whose descendants, possibly, were found in the cave.

Dr. Tsum Um Nui felt the smooth face of the disk with the palm of his hand. "What could this disk possibly be?" he wondered. He knew of its recent history; how it was discovered in 1938 by a Chinese archaeologist in a cave high in the Himalayans, along with 715 similar disks; how buried nearby were skeletons of a strange tribe of people averaging only a little over four feet high; how it was found that each disk was inscribed with a tiny groove that spiraled around its face, and that the groove turned out to be an unknown hieroglyphic. He also knew how the disks, as remarkable as they were, had been simply labeled along with other finds of the expedition and stored away at Beijing University for 20 years. During that time, others had attempted to decipher the strange inscriptions, but without success. Perhaps now, in 1962, he could. The professor painstakingly transcribed the characters from the disk to paper. The writing was so small he had to use a magnifying glass to see it clearly. But the stones were old -- perhaps 12,000 years old, it was estimated -- and much of the hieroglyphics were difficult to make out or had been worn away by time and the elements. As he worked, many questions nagged the professor. How did these primitive people fashion these precise stones? How did they manage the almost microscopic writing? Who were they and what was the purpose of these hundreds of stones? Once the characters were transcribed, Dr. Tsum Um Nui began the arduous task of trying to decode its message. Eventually, he began to make progress. A word emerged. Then another. A phrase became understandable, then an entire sentence. He had broken the code. He discerned that the messages on the stones were written by a people who called themselves the Dropa. But what they were saying to him 12,000 years later made no sense. What the Dropa had written must have been one of their cultural myths, or was part of some prehistoric religious ceremony. Or was it? When he had completed the translation as much as he could, the professor sat back in his chair in disbelief. The story the Dropa related was nothing short of astounding. How would his colleagues react? How might the world react if this story was true? The professor wrote up a paper on his findings and presented it to the university for publication. Their reaction was swift and emphatic: the paper would not be published. The Academy of Prehistory expressly forbade him to publish or even speak of his findings. The world, the academy decided, should not know about the Dropa and their fateful journey to Earth.

Dr. Tsum Um Nui's findings were eventually published, however. Just two years later, he published the paper entitled, "The Grooved Script Concerning Spaceships Which, as Recorded on the Discs, Landed on Earth 12,000 Years Ago." By some accounts, the academy relented and gave permission to the professor to publish the paper, and by other accounts he published it despite the official ban. In either case, his translation and his theory were met with ridicule by the archaeology establishment. The translation was just too shattering to be taken at face value or as an historical account. It just could not be true. It would change everything we know about our history and humankind's place in the universe.

What the Stones Reveal

The Dropa disks tell the story of a space probe from a distant planet that crash-landed in the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains of the Himalayas. The occupants of the spacecraft -- the Dropa -- found refuge in the caves of the mountains. Despite their peaceful intentions, the Dropa were misunderstood by members of the Ham tribe who were occupying neighboring caves and who hunted down the aliens and even killed some of them. A translation of one of the passages says: "The Dropa came down from the clouds in their aircraft. Our men, women, and children hid in the caves ten times before sunrise. When at last they understood the sign language of the Dropa, they realized that the newcomers had peaceful intentions...."

The stones go on to say how the Dropa were unable to repair their disabled spacecraft and could not return to their home planet, and so were stranded on Earth. If that's true, have their descendents survived?

Today, the isolated area is inhabited by two tribes of people who, in fact, call themselves the Dropa and the Han. Anthropologists have been unable to categorize either tribe into any other known race; they are neither Chinese nor Tibetan. Both tribes are of pygmy stature, adults measuring between 3-foot-6 and 4-foot-7 with an average height of 4-foot-2, and body weights of 38 to 52 pounds. They are yellow-skinned with thin bodies and disproportionately large heads, corresponding to the skeletal remains found in the caves in 1938. They have sparse hair on their bodies and have large eyes that are not Asian in aspect, but have pale blue irises.

Supposedly, there also is an ancient Chinese tale that might bear-out the Dropa's claims. The tale relates the story of a small, slender, yellow-skinned people who descended to the Earth from the clouds, and who were shunned by everyone because of their ugliness.

Strange Properties

In 1968, the Dropa stones came to the attention of W. Saitsew, a Russian scientist who re-published the findings of Tsum Um Nui and conducted tests on the disks that revealed some very peculiar properties. Physically, the granite stones contained high concentrations of cobalt and other metals -- a very hard stone indeed that would have made it difficult for the primitive people to carve the lettering, especially with such minute characters. When testing a disk with an oscillograph, a surprising oscillation rhythm was recorded as if, the scientists said, they had once been electrically charged or had functioned as electrical conductors.

Whatever their true nature, origin, or meaning, the Dropa stones present an intriguing puzzle for archaeologists and anthropologists. Were the Dropa truly visitors from some distant planet, or is their story merely a creation myth imagined by a primitive culture? If the latter is true, it adds one more such "myth" to the large number of stories from ancient cultures that claim their descendents came to Earth from the heavens. And if the former is true, the Dropa stones could represent the first recorded visit of an alien civilization to our planet. For now, the Dropa stones remain unexplained.

I’m curious about your theories on these stones. At first, the notion that an advanced civilization crashed here and used hieroglyphics on stones sounded rather archaic, but honestly if such a thing were possible, they would certainly use what’s at hand and stone was something they could carve and fashion their stories upon knowing they would last the test of time. I’m so distracted by this story (like the Grand Canyon series) that I’m going to go on and see what I can find about the supposed ancestors of the Dropa. Expect that in my next post!


  1. I read that article about the Dropa on years ago. I remember wondering how Dr. Tsum Um Nui was able to decipher the language so accurately without any sort of 'Rosetta Stone' to go by. Code breaking the language wouldn't have been impossible without a 'Rosetta Stone', but what are the odds he would be able to decipher unknown hieroglyphs that are microscopic in size and 10,000-12,000 years old? It seemed a little odd to me that microscopic sized writing would still be visible after that many years. So I wondered if the find had been hoaxed.

    But then again, what are the odds that Dr. Chi Pu Tei took the time to chisel out in microscopic size an entire story in a hieroglyphic language he created in hopes that some day someone else would come along and decipher the language and read his fantastic story? It seems like that might be more effort than it's worth considering that no one may have ever tried to decipher it.

    But...just to play skeptic again, I also thought the non-chinese pygmy tribes named the Dropa and the Han might have just been used in a story created by a hoaxer. Their unusual appearance may have been seen as an opportunity to create a story about the origins as an alien people, and the name of the alien people adapted from the name of tribe itself.

    I think it would be good if the stones were examined again by a few different people and the hieroglyphs deciphered again by a few different people...preferably people not familiar with the story of the Dropa. It would be interesting to see what conclusions they draw from it. I'd like to see if different people decipher the same story. Someone else deciphering the same story still wouldn't be proof it is real because if it was made by a hoaxer, then the story would still be the same, but I'd be more interested in seeing if someone else was able to decipher a different story instead. I'd also like to know what the modern Dropa and Han tribes think about the story. Has anyone asked them? Do they any stories of their own that have been passed down for generations?

    I don't know where the stones are today. I doubt many, if any, from the academic 'establishment' would take them serious enough to do a serious investigation on them. They'll probably just remain a mystery.

  2. Very good observations, as always. I heard of this story a long time ago and kept running into it over and over again. I couldn't remember if I'd ever blogged about it, so I had to go through my archives and see. I'm glad I hadn't because looking at it again years later gave me a more debunker attitude from 7 years of ghost hunting. I think it's amazing that they would have such a HUGE archaeological find and not use bragging rights, but then again it is China. I do believe the stones were definitely found and did have etching on them. The question is whether they were translated accurately. From 38-58 they were supposedly doing the transcription--at a time when UFO influences peaking might have actualy influenced the outcome of the "final" translation. I'll get into it in the next post, but the logistics of breeding with aliens... Hmm....

  3. Oh yeah, I forgot something...the dropa stones when I first saw them immediately reminded me of my father's childhood bread. They made the flatbread where he was in Norway in a wheel shape like that and ran it on a string across the room to stay dry and out of the way. Sometimes, they stored them in dressers, but usually they were wheel like that. Makes me wonder if this is just another Viking throwback on the Asian culture? I wonder that too because in the next post they describe the Dropa and they sound strangely Nordic...