Ancient ‘ghost city’ built atop coral reef in the middle of Pacific Ocean has baffled archaeologists

Archaeologists have discovered what looks like an ancient city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This ruined city, being referred to as the “Venice of the Pacific,” remains one of the most mysterious archaeological discoveries till date. Who would have built this ancient city out in the middle of an ocean?

Science Channel series What on Earth? reveals impressive satellite images of gigantic square blocks, separated by narrow channels of water, seen off the coast of Micronesia—a country in the western Pacific Ocean comprising more than 600 islands and divided into four island states of Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap.

©Google Map

The square blocks, which are remarkably similar and geometrically shaped, are actually 97 stone walls scattering on Nan Madol, a ruined city that lies off the eastern shore of the remote island of Pohnpei. Nan Madol means “spaces between,” alluding to the canals that crisscross the ruins. The series of small islands are separated by tidal canals.

The extraordinary shape and scale of the walls, each 25 feet tall and 17 feet wide, are even more astounding when seen on the ground.

©Getty Images | Jim Sugar

Nan Madol, approximately 1.5 km long by 0.5 km wide, is the largest archaeological site in Micronesia. The ancient city, shielded from the ocean by 12 sea walls, consists of 97 massive stone walls constructed atop shallow artificial coral reef islets.

©Getty Images | Michael Runkel / robertharding

“The structures are very cleverly built,” said Mark McCoy, an anthropologist and associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas, according to SMU Research News. “We think of coral as precious, but for the architects of Nan Madol it was a building material.”

©Getty Images | Marketa Jirouskova

The site was the seat of the Saudelaur Dynasty, which ruled Pohnpei from around 1100 to around 1628. According to studies by Research Gate, Nan Madol could date back to around the first or second century AD, as Ancient-code reported.

In another report published by FOX News in 2016, it stated the site could have been established around 1180, as per research led by McCoy.

“It now looks like Nan Madol represents a first in Pacific Island history,” said McCoy, in an email to Fox News. “The tomb of the first chiefs of Pohnpei is a century older than similar monumental burials of leaders on other islands.”

©Getty Images | Jim Sugar

“To me, in its prime, Nan Madol was a capital,” McCoy said. “It was the seat of political power, the center of the most important religious rituals, and the place where the former chiefs of the island were laid to rest.”

“The architecture is meant to be extremely impressive, and it is,” McCoy said.

©Getty Images | Jim Sugar

The construction of Nan Madol still remains a mystery to researchers and historians. Who would have built this ancient city? And how did the ancients manage to transport the massive blocks of stone to construct this impressive city?

To date, very little is known about Nan Madol or the ancient race that once lived in the city. Interestingly, Nan Madol is also historically rumored to be haunted. Some even call it the “ghost city!”

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