The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts: The Dropa Stones

The Dropa Stones are puzzling artifact #2 on the 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts list.

Dropa Stones

These are “The” Dropa Stone images.

What are the Dropa Stones?

The Story of how the stones were found is kinda up in the air. The major story states that a Chinese archaeologist named Chu Pu Tei, found the stones in 1938/37 while he was looking at some caves. Inside the caves he found a series of graves that each contained a skeleton measuring a little over a meter in height (about 3 feet for the non-metric speaking). Buried with these tiny people were mysterious grooved stones, that became known as the Dropa Stones.

Now, the stones made their way from Chu Pu Tei’s possession to that of another researcher by the name of Professor Tsum Um Nui, of the Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies. He was able to translate them, and he found out that the little people were indeed aliens and they had been hunted to near extinction by the local humans, because they were short and ugly. Apparently, the humans and  the aliens were able to solve their differences, because the aliens are also the supposed ancestors of the Dropa tribe, which is still around today.

Somewhere in there the stones traveled to Russia, and were photographed, then lost, and pretty much everyone associated with them vanished as well. So now all we have are a few grainy pictures that look a lot like Bi discs, and no-one with first hand knowledge. Completely believable, Right? Right?

To break this story down will take a bit. Let’s look at all the Red Flags:

Red Flag #1 –  The story appears on several web sites, most of which looked copied and pasted, there is no author mentioned, and no citation.

I went over why this is a red flag in the first post in this series on the Grooved Spheres.  There are a few occasions where no citations are ok, such as the above story where there is no real citation to give. Another time would be first hand or original research. The stories on these websites don’t fall into either category.

Red Flag #2 – None of the names of any of the researchers appear to be real, and there is no record of  the Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies.

This one is probably the most damning. None of the named participants in this hoax have any record of existing. On top of that, Professor Tsum Um Nui’s name isn’t even Chinese. It appears to be a badly adapted Japanese name.

Of even more interest is the fictitious Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies. There is no such place in record, ever. Yet this is where Professor Tsum Um Nui  supposedly translated the stones in only 24 years, which could be considered Red Flag #2.5.

Red Flag #3  – The remains of the ‘aliens’ as well as the Dropa Stones have all managed to vanish, as well as anyone who might have ever seen the stones.

Supposed Dropa Alien
There is so much wrong with this picture, not the least of which is the incredibly bad quality.

There is no real way to verify if this picture is authentic, even the site where I found it is quick to point that out. Be that as it may, this tiny skeleton and the disks pictures at the beginning of the post are nowhere to be found. As a matter of fact, there is no mention of the remains recovered from the caves that Chu Pu Tei discovered, or of any other grave good recovered from those burials. There are no mentions of lost documentation, only a slight mention here and there that Chu Pu Tei might have written a report that was suppressed by the Chinese Government.  The only recovered items from the cave graves appear to be the stones, and those are lost within a few decades of discovery. So basically, there is no physical evidence, or any kind of written documentation, of the stones or the graves.

Red Flag #4 – The few pictures we have the Dropa Stones are identical to what are called Bi Discs, which are known artifacts that are part of the Chinese culture.

This one is pretty plain, but the Bi Discs got to be very elaborate in their decorations.

The Bi Discs are flat disks made of jade with a hole in the center of the disk. Thousand’s have been recovered from Neolithic burials all over China[2]. They appear to be indicative of social status and rank [2], and were recently used in the Beijing Olympic Medals which were designed to look like bi discs on the back [3]. They also seem to be tied to the concept of Heaven (sky), and were very important in the day-to-day lives of ancient Chinese [2].

These were gold, silver, and bronze medals with circles of jade inlaid into them.

Red Flag #5 – The actual Dropa people.

I spent a fair amount of time looking for these people in some kind of link I could give you. Pretty much the only one I can find that doesn’t mention these people as some kind of Alien-Human hybrid is Bad Archaeology. I’m not saying these people don’t exist somewhere in China, I’m just saying that I can’t find any academic sources to back up their existence in the first place. I’m also not saying that Bad Archaeology is not a good site, its exactly the opposite, I am saying that I would be much more comfortable talking about a group of people if I could find some anthropology sites or reports on them.

So, you can clearly see the massive issues with this particular ancient artifact. Most of the UFO sites that I came across discounted the stones as a Hoax, going as far as to blame Von Daniken for really pushing the story. As far as anyone can tell the first mention of this story was in a German Vegetarian Magazine, and then the same story was translated and reprinted in a Russian yellow-rag two years later [4]. The story was never taken seriously and almost faded away till Von Daniken got hold of it, wrote two books about it,  and then another book named Sungods in Exile got published by an unnamed author under a nom-de-plume of David Agamon, who later came out and said the whole story was fiction [4]. Von Daniken hasn’t yet recanted.

So, not only is the origin of the story of the Dropa Stones dubious, but the story itself is as well. There is no evidence of anything related to the stones, and no one to back up any of the claims made by the story. It’s even difficult to prove that the real Dropa tribe exists. All that can be said is somewhere, someone put pen to paper and wrote a story of a Chinese archaeologist finding something cool. That’s all you can prove, and that’s all these stones are, a really long-lived story.

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[1] “The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts.” Accessed April 2 2012.

[2] National Gallery of Art. The Golden Age of Chines Archaeology. Accessed 4/14/2012.


[4] Bad Archaeology. “The Dropa (or Dzopa) stones.” Accessed 4/14/2012

16 thoughts on “The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts: The Dropa Stones

Add yours

  1. Love your blog. Glad that there are several of you out there debunking so much urban legend that’s passed from blog to blog. It may be fun to speculate about aliens, and seeded Earth mysteries, but I think the mysteries of actual geology and archaeology in truth are so much more exciting.
    Thanks for helping set the records straight in such an entertaining style.
    Keep up the good fight.
    (P.S. the language scholar in me wants to point out that tinny is something associated with tin, and shinny with the shins (in Grooved spheres article) and suspect that these were typos for tiny (very small) and shiny (very reflective)?)


  2. Just curious, have scientist/archaeologist considered the possibility that materials other than stone and metal, could not survive thousands of years for us to find? It seems they are quick to think it is impossible ancient civilizations could have built some of their stone structures, etc. with the tools they had and their lack of technology, leading some to believe they were helped by aliens. Is there not a good chance they were actually more advanced and the physical evidence of their technology simply could not withstand the test of time?

    I look forward to hearing any response!


  3. The only red flag I need is the fact that all of the artifacts and anyone who knew anything about them disappeared… coincidence? There is a conscious line between conspiracy theory and revelation.


  4. I really enjoy your blog which I ‘discovered’ the other day. As a former English teacher can I suggest getting a good editor? ‘Tinny’ means tin-like; ‘tiny’ means small. In the photo caption of Olympic medals you say they have circles of jade ‘inland’ on them. ‘Inland’ means away from the coast and is not actually spelled that way; ‘inlaid’ means something has been mounted into a piece of jewelry or the like. In another post you interchange ‘piece’ and ‘peace’.

    Sorry, this sounds petty but one of the ways I use to determine if something is worthwhile scientifically is the number of spelling and grammatical errors. The more errors I spot the less credibility I give to a site telling me that Bigfoot has a condo in downtown Seattle.


  5. Let’s review the facts you state, aside from the unverifiable: ‘Discs which suspiciously resemble CDs were worn as status symbols, and are said to signify the sky…’ The sky, where the sky gods came from. Discs which were made to look like the discs that were seen in ancient times. The primitives would have had no way of understanding that a disc was a device for storing information, or that it had to be inserted into a machine, they were simply copying something that they associated with their ‘gods’ and using it as a status symbol. See? The same way that primitive tribes made airplanes out of reeds, but of course they were simply copying what they had observed.
    “The most widely known period of cargo cult activity occurred among the Melanesian islanders in the years during and after World War II. A small population of indigenous peoples observed, often right in front of their dwellings, the largest war ever fought by technologically advanced nations. First, the Japanese arrived with a great deal of supplies and later the Allied forces did likewise. The vast amounts of military equipment and supplies that both sides airdropped (or airlifted to airstrips) to troops on these islands meant drastic changes to the lifestyle of the islanders, many of whom had never seen outsiders before. Manufactured clothing, medicine, canned food, tents, weapons and other goods arrived in vast quantities for the soldiers, who often shared some of it with the islanders who were their guides and hosts. This was true of the Japanese Army as well, at least initially before relations deteriorated in most regions. With the end of the war, the military abandoned the airbases and stopped dropping cargo. In response, charismatic individuals developed cults among remote Melanesian populations that promised to bestow on their followers deliveries of food, arms, Jeeps, etc. The cult leaders explained that the cargo would be gifts from their own ancestors, or other sources, as had occurred with the outsider armies. In attempts to get cargo to fall by parachute or land in planes or ships again, islanders imitated the same practices they had seen the soldiers, sailors, and airmen use. Cult behaviors usually involved mimicking the day to day activities and dress styles of US soldiers, such as performing parade ground drills with wooden or salvaged rifles. The islanders carved headphones from wood and wore them while sitting in fabricated control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses. In a form of sympathetic magic, many built life-size replicas of airplanes out of straw and cut new military-style landing strips out of the jungle, hoping to attract more airplanes. The cult members thought that the foreigners had some special connection to the deities and ancestors of the natives, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches.” ~Wikipedia
    “…there are MODERN examples of entire religions starting simply by contact from never before seen races and technology, one of the most famous cases is in the pacific during and after WW2, there were islands with primitive tribes living on them that had never seen white men nor aircrafts and the other various technologies they carried, we used these islands as bases and stopping points for our aircrafts, and after the war we packed everything up and left, and since then they have wanted us to return, so they build fake airplanes out of reeds and wood and hold religious ceremonies to try and coax us into coming back. They think we were GODS who visited them. Their religions are based on us. Why is it so hard to imagine the same thing happening many thousands of years ago?” ~
    Science and religion may seem diametrically opposed on the surface, but they have one thing in common: They belligerently deny any facts which undermine their cleverly constructed delusions that their way of perceiving things is the only correct way. This is also called closed-mindedness. It is akin to a five year old sticking his fingers in his ears and going: “Lalalalalalalala…” because he does not want to be shown that Santa Claus is a fantasy. Well, he is. And so is just about everything we have been taught by science and religion. Sorry to bust your bubble. Can you explain the Philadelphia Experiment? Nikola Tesla could. Officially, they labeled him ‘crazy’, but covertly, they employed his ideas, and even stole his notes after his death. I trust no official explanations, ever, because they are 99.999% bullshit. Humanity must constantly and consistently question any and all “authority” lest we allow ourselves to become duped into slavery. The only actual authority is the authority of the Sovereign Individual over his own actions.
    – The Spirit Bear {SpiritusUrsus}


    1. There are so many assumptions that have to be made in order for most of what you just proposed to be true. Not to mention a massive lack of evidence to support the claims you’re making. But since I apparently can’t perceive things “the correct way”, I guess I’m just going to have rely on reality.


  6. I could tell this was a good one as soon as ” Professor Tsum Um Nui” showed up.

    I’ve got only the most shallow and casual experience with East-Asian language and culture and could still see that’s not even remotely a Chinese name. Doesn’t fit Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Mongolian or Turkic either if we give the story benefit of the doubt and assume ‘he’ was of non-Han descent.

    It sounds suspiciously like what someone even less-familiar with the region might come up with if they needed a generically-Asian name for a fictional person.


  7. No disrespect meant, but not only are your red flags actually inaccurate, there is also a lot of facts/evidence that you left out. You did not mention the most significant part–the microscopic hieroglyphics that were found written inside the discs grooves, and deciphered to contain completely amazing information!


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