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Nan Madol: The Greatest Archaeological Secret

Nan Madol

Legends about lost civilizations like Atlantis and El Dorado have always piqued human curiosity with their mysteriousness. Along the coasts of Micronesia, there lies another strange island called Nan Madol.

It is located on the eastern shore of Pohnpei island and has been gaining ever more popularity worldwide. The ancient megapolis covers about 8 ha and encompasses 90 artificial islands. In translation, "Nan Madol" means the "spaces between", most likely because the entire island group is connected by canals.

Since its discovery by European explorers in the 19th century, it became known as the "Venice of the Pacific".

David Hatcher, one of the lead archaeologists who have taken to studying Nan Madol, shares that "a project of this magnitude regarding the building materials and labor force can only be compared to the Great Wall of China and the pyramids of Egypt."

It has been calculated that to build the entire complex of islands with all of the underwater tunnels would have taken about 300 years. Even so, the actual method of construction remains shrouded in mystery.

It is also difficult to determine when the ancient site was built since there has been no art, nor any type of ritual items found, which would help in identifying the builders. Since the natives of Micronesia also have no written history, scientists have been forced to guess about the past based on archaeological finds and histories passed down by word of mouth.

The most famous legend tells of 2 brother wizards, who came by sea from a faraway land. The belief goes that it was they who built Nan Madol atop the ruins of another ancient city sunken in the ocean.

The locals claim that the mages were powerful enough to control the water elements and carry objects by air. They founded the Saudeleur Dynasty but because of the despotic rulers, it drew the wrath of the gods, leading to the island's destruction.

Whether it is because of these legends or other reasons, the inhabitants of the cities closest to Nan Madol believe it a place of evil spirits. They believe that anyone brave enough to stay on the island after sunset will be set upon by the curse of Saudeleur and won't survive to see the next sunrise.