The Yonaguni Monument
It could be a random pile of rocks, or it could be the Asian Atlantis. Located just off the shores of Yonaguni, one of Japan's most southerly islands, the Yonaguni Monument is a vast collection of stone structures believed by some to be the sunken remnants of an ancient civilization. At first glance, Yonaguni's human origins seems obvious: The site is composed of right-angled stone walls topped by a massive stone pyramid. Japanese marine geologist Masaaki Kimura, who has studied Yonaguni for 15 years, maintains the sprawling site once held a stadium, five temples, a triumphal arch and a castle [source: Ryall]. In certain spots, Kimura says, stones are nicked by what appear to be quarry marks.
Skeptics maintain that the monument's resemblance to an ancient city is merely a coincidence. Sandstone naturally breaks along straight lines -- especially in earthquake zones -- and could have easily formed the monument. To look at maps of the site, Yonaguni certainly doesn't seem like a very welcoming city. Some of the monument's high terraces appear to be joined by "staircases" with steps that are up to a meter high. Peculiar for an archaeological site, the Monument has also been found to contain no tools or pottery.
Boston University professor Robert Schoch (who also theorizes that Easter Island was built by ancient giants) thinks that Yonaguni may be a mixture of both natural and manmade structures. Before the monument was buried by a massive tsunami, ancient humans may have lived among its formations, says Schoch. And just as prehistoric humans decorated the caves of France, the residents of the Yonaguni Monument "spruced up" the place with some carvings and tombs [source: Schoch]. So far, the Japanese government isn't buying any of this. More than 20 years after it was discovered, state officials have yet to send an official expedition to the site.
- Travel the World: The Egyptian Pyramids
- Travel the World: Machu Picchu
- 10 Most Dangerous Places You Should Definitely Visit
- Top 5 Unsolved Brain Mysteries
- How the Bermuda Triangle Works
- Are there undiscovered people?
- Did Egyptians really build the Sphinx?
- Curiosity Project: Archeological Finds of the 21st Century Pictures
More Great Links
- BBC News. "The stone spheres of Costa Rice." March 29, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8593717.stm
- Collyns, Dan. "Machu Picchu Ruin 'Found Earlier.'" June 6, 2008. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7439397.stm
- Diamond, Jared. "Easter's End." August 1995. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://discovermagazine.com/1995/aug/eastersend543
- Dunning, Brian. "Yonaguni Monument: The Japanese Atlantis." Aug. 24, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4220
- Hunt, Terry. "Rethinking the Fall of Easter Island." October 2006. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/rethinking-the-fall-of-easter-island/1
- Leff, Alex. "Costa Rica's Mysterious Stone Spheres." March 28, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/costa-rica/100324/stone-spheres-unesco
- McMahan, Bucky. "Secrets of Yonaguni." Nov. 5, 2006. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.scubadiving.com/travel/2006/11/secrets-of-yonaguni
- Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Teotihuacan." (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/teot/hd_teot.htm
- Ryall, Julian. "Japan's Ancient Underwater Pyramid Mystifies Scholars." Sept. 19, 2007. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070919-sunken-city.html
- Schoch, Robert. "An Enigmatic Ancient Underwater Structure off the Coast of Yonaguni Island, Japan." 1999. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://circulartimes.org/Enigmatic%20Yonaguni%20Underwater%20RMS%20CT.htm
- Schoch, Robert. "Yonaguni." (Oct. 10, 2010) http://www.robertschoch.com/yonagunicontent.html
- Science Daily. "Easter Island's Controversial Collapse: More to the Story than Deforestation?" February 18, 2009. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218095435.htm
- Science Daily. "Mysterious Stone Spheres in Costa Rice Investigated." March 23, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218095435.htm
- Science Daily. "Sacrificial Burial Deepens Mystery at Teotihuacan, But Confirms the City's Militarism." December 9, 2004. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041203084345.htm
- Stevenson, Mark. "Teotihuacan Tunnels Thrill Archaeologists." Aug. 4, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.iol.co.za/teotihuacan-tunnel-thrills-archaeologists-1.671893
- Sugiyama, Saburo. "Teotihuacan." Aug. 20, 2001. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://archaeology.asu.edu/teo/intro/intrteo.htm
- Thompson, Nigel. "Machu Picchu, Peru: Ancient Andes city is Picchu-perfect." Oct. 2, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.mirror.co.uk/advice/travel/2010/10/02/picchu-perfect-115875-22602064/
- United Nations Environment Programme. "Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu." (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.unep-wcmc.org/sites/wh/pdf/Machu%20Picchu.pdf
The Statue of Liberty was given to the U.S. by France to symbolize freedom. HowStuffWorks breaks down some fun facts about this symbolic statue.