Nan Madol
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Funny, You Don't Look Lemurian
Searching for the legendary lost continent of Mu, or Lemuria? We could only find the mirror image of the sunken city at Nan Madol, whose walls were built of giant basalt pillars, which break naturally into huge, log-like hexagonal columns. The earliest ruins are from the 7th century—legend was that Nan Madol was built by magicians who moved the 25-foot stones, weighing as much as 50 tons, into place. The settlement consisted of 92 artificial islands built on tidal flats, with channels connecting the smaller islands, all surrounded by a huge seawall. We spent most of our time on Nan Dowas, with its amazing 25-high stacked basalt walls. Nan Dowas was a war temple or fortress, while other islands were administrative complexes, servants' quarters, drumming areas, coconut-oil producing centers, and ritual retreats for the priests. There were several crypts and a tiny prisoner hole, where an unfortunate was placed in a basalt narrow-walled pit, which was covered with a stone. They could only stand—considering the blanketing heat and humidity, that was punishment indeed. At the entrance to Nan Dowas was a ceremonial sakau-pounding rock. Sakau is a slightly narcotic drink (called kava in Fiji) made from the pounded kava pepper roots. Next to the pounding rock was the pounder's seat, a perfect buttocks-shaped indentation in the old rock. Hope the prisoners got a swig now and then. Being on a small Micronesian island is otherworldly enough, but Nan Madol was extraterrestrial.
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