The ‘Ancient Underwater Ruins’ of Yonaguni, Japan

Yonaguni Composite

One of the pseudo-archaeological claims that I see from time to time on the intertubes is the speculation that there are underwater ruins of an ancient civilization off the coast of Yonagumi.

This by itself isn’t such a fantastic claim. There are countless settlements and remnants of civilizations as old as the neolithic and before that have since been inundated by rising sea levels. At the height of the Last Glacial Maximum, sea levels were as much as 100-120 meters lower[1]. According to Graham Hancock, a mystery-monger and significance-junkie who profits quite well from his books and media appearances in which he appeals to the sense of mystery in us all, the site at Yonaguni is at a depth of “up to 30 meters[2].” By conservative estimates, this would put the region above sea level at between 8-10 thousand years ago[1]!

What Hancock would have us believe is that a culture lived and thrived on this remote island 10,000 years ago and was able to create monumental architecture. Again, by itself, this isn’t a completely far-fetched idea. Monumental architecture did start to appear in various places around the world at around 10,000 – 6,500 years ago. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the case at Yonaguni.

The conclusion that the submarine rock formations found at Yonaguni are anthropogenic is quite a leap that isn’t supported by evidence. To reach this conclusion, we must first begin with the premise that the submarine geology cannot be natural. As with other sites around the globe, mystery-mongers will quickly and quite fallaciously conclude that “nature doesn’t make right angles” and Hancock, in chapter 27 of Underworld, quotes, mentions, or implies this more than once. You might recall my previous posts on Semir Osmanagic and his (and others’) “nature doesn’t make right-angles” claim.

Many of the angles that I’ve seen in various photographs on the “ruins” aren’t right-angles at all, but rhombohedral. That is to say, they’re slightly off from perpendicular, which is a characteristic of a kind of fracturing in geology known as jointing. Jointing occurs when there is fracturing without movement as with a fault. Imagine placing a stack of Graham crackers on a pencil and apply force to the top of the cracker and you’ll see various fracturing occur depending upon the direction and intensity of the force applied and the position of the pencil (or pencils if you want to get creative).

Cypriot Anchor
Alleged Tablet

One of the supporting claims of proponents of the “ancient ruins” speculation is that a “stone tablet” has been found, but photos of this “tablet” look more like a weight or anchor -which would depend upon the size. None of the photos on the internet have actually had anything included in the photo for scale (archaeologists often include a small black and white placard in centimeters; geologists often just plop their hammer in the photo). I would be very surprised if these types of stones weren’t common in the region given the thousands of years of fishing economy. Nets need weights and boats need anchors.

Alleged Colossal Head

Yet another supporting photo is the “colossal head,” reminiscent of Olmec society in Mesoamerica. Yet this rock seems to be a perpetrator of pareidolia more than anything. Like the so-called “face on Mars,” this rock only just resemble a face with some vaguely familiar crevices where one might expect to see eyes. Given the number of rocks in the area, there are bound to be several that have naturally occurring “faces” on them -you can see such “faces” just watching a few cumulus clouds pass on a breezy spring day.

Then there’s the pictures at the top of this post. Number 1 shows an alleged “site plan” of the “ruins,” but this is completely fallacious and leading since it presupposes and leads the viewer into the expectation that something has actually been discovered. Looking at this diagram, you can see its labeled with “terraces” and “streets,” a “sacred place” and a “gate” and so on. None of these alleged features have any supporting evidence for context. Not a shred. Indeed, they look like rocks that have fractured underwater in the same manner that they have above sea level. The difference is the debris. There is a distinct lack of debris in the photos you see of the underwater features (i.e #2) while there are more rubble and debris from broken and fallen rock on the coastal formations. The reason is most likely the current. I noticed that this warm water region is distinctly void of vegetation and fish, which is consistent with rough water due to wave action. These same waves would remove the debris from broken rock and fill the base with sand further hiding the debris.

If we can assume the model (#3) found on many websites is accurate, we can then compare it with terrestrial geology. Does it compare? I’d say so. Photo number 4 is a close up of the same member, with the same apparent strike and the same stratigraphy of shale or sandstone as the underwater version. There are right angles. There are rhombohedral angles. There are steps. There are “terraces.” See the full size version below:

There’s little doubt that those who want there to be a dark, mysterious but lost civilization to exist in the waters of Yonaguni will simply go on seeing only evidence of that imagined civilization in the very natural but cool geology of the region. However, there simply isn’t any supporting evidence that such a civilization existed and that this civilization created the monumental architecture necessary to be what is claimed. There are too many new assumptions that must be introduced (which is the very thing that appeals to certain mystery-mongers) about human evolution. Along with monumental architecture comes wide-scale domestication of plants and animals -a fishing culture alone would not be able to provide the required calories for the number of people necessary to engage in such architecture. There should be corresponding artifacts on the island of Yonaguni which support the hypothesis that 10,000 years ago there existed a culture which was able to engage in monumental architecture. Such evidence is not forthcoming either on land or below the surface of the waves thrashing Yonaguni’s shores.

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References and Notes:
  1. http://www.cartruts.com/pictures/Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.jpg [] []
  2. Hancock, Graham (24 May 2008) Confronting Yonaguni, online excerpt of Chap. 27. Underworld. Crown, 2002. []
About Carl Feagans 313 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.

46 Comments

  1. I remember watching a documentary on this about 7 years ago. I thought the issue had been resolved. Clearly not so! Although the person defending the man-made hypothesis in the documentary seemed quite sure of what he was seeing, I remember the images left me quite unconvinced.

  2. I wrote it. But you’ve not qualified either your claim that I’m an “idiot” nor that it’s “complete bullshit.”

    I ask: what humans made these features? What is the evidence that humans made them? There’s no need to bother with trying to support your ad hominem “idiot” claim, since this is clearly the juvenile response of someone who already has a preconceived conclusion to which someone else is skeptical. With an application of critical thought and rational inquiry, you might actually have learned something from the “bullshit” you probably didn’t even bother to fully read.

    Congratulations on demonstrating that the internet is still significantly populated by the ignorant (one good ad hominem remark deserves another, eh?).

  3. I had a question concerning the sharpness of the underwater “steps” in relation to the strong currents. When compared to their terrestrial counterparts which are much more rounded or weathered(in what appears to be most in the area of the picture you have chosen), than the underwater versions.

    Underwater currents can carry much larger debris, which can be confirmed by your statement “These same waves would remove the debris from broken rock and fill the base with sand further hiding the debris.” So considering the power of water currents, the age differences in the terrestrial example and the claimed underwater sample of approximately 10,000 years, could it still not be feasible that these “ruins” were man-made? There are about an equal number of “signs” that point to natural or man-made. Unless we find proof, either could be correct.

  4. This is a good observation. Off the cuff (i.e. without having visited either the outcrops or the underwater features in person), I’d think that weathering above the sea would be more erosive than the currents below. This is primarily because there are more erosional factors, not the least of which are acid rain and wind (which carries sand particles).

    There are actually no “signs” that I’ve seen which point to man-made. Indeed, there is one bit of compelling evidence which stipulates that the features couldn’t be man-made: there was no culture engaging in large-scale stone architecture at nearly 10,000 years ago. At around this period, pottery was just being used in Japan. In the Near East, Göbekli Tepe was going through its very first stages of construction, which included stone architecture but hardly on a scale needed to fulfill the expectations of those who see Yonaguni as a man-made site. The Levant was going through its Neolithic period -pottery was being introduced at varied degrees here as well.

    It would be ludicrous to suggest that a culture, whose highest technological achievement to date was the ability to put molded clay pots by the fire, would be able to create a massive stone port requiring complex math, levers, blocks and tackle, etc. This isn’t to suggest that the cultures of the region were stupid, far from it. I’m only saying that technological evolution is graduated and the type of architecture implied by significance-junkies and mystery-mongers who assert Yonaguni is an ancient city is not going to be found without evidence for pottery being found much earlier.

    Thank you, however, for taking the time to comment here! I hope you visit more.

  5. Isnt it funny how we are the best country in the world(open for debate i suppose) yet our media is so censored? we never heard about this here and in japan it headlined for over a year?

  6. Ok, I agree that the rocks outside the water look very similar to those below the water, but shouldn’t water soften the edges with time? At least it is what it does with smaller stones for every smaller amounts of time. Not to mention that it’s still possible that both sites are human shaped (not made, but shaped!).

    And you must admit that this huge structure in the middle of the nothing looks little bit out of place. As well as the photos of corridors and stairs look very realistic!

    Anyway, if it was so easy to claim this is a natural site, there wouldn’t be any fuss about Yonaguni by now. The problem is that all the evidences are indirect and non-conclusive. And just writing a post about it, doesn’t add up to the evidence. Just because one more person agrees with something, isn’t enough to make it a correct scientific theory. It’s just as inconclusive it is a natural formation, as it is that it’s artificial. But combining it with the knowledge of other megaliths in the world that benefited from the natural shape of the rock and were just modified to some extent, it really can be artificial. As to the extent of the human work on it, I don’t know. It could vary from “from scratch” to “just used it”.

  7. shouldn’t water soften the edges with time?

    The erosional forces above the surface are probably more significant as they include wind-blown sand (which has a more erosional effect than water-born) as well as acid rain.

    And you must admit that this huge structure in the middle of the nothing looks little bit out of place. As well as the photos of corridors and stairs look very realistic!

    It all looks very consistent with the type of jointing and fracturing present in sandstone, chalk, diorite, and other formations I’ve seen around the world. I can admit only that it is an interesting feature, but I have no good reason to admit that the joints and fractures present are man made. Indeed, there is good reason to say they are not: for instance, the “stairs” are at a scale beyond human anatomy (some are several feet from one step to the next).

    It’s just as inconclusive it is a natural formation, as it is that it’s artificial.

    Hardly. We have evidence of jointing/fracturing of this kind all over the world, including undersea. We have evidence that the first civilization capable of producing monumental architecture in the region existed long after the region was submerged following the Last Glacial Maximum. We have no cultural evidence in the region that correlates to this kind of alleged architecture.

    We have every scientific reason to dismiss wild speculations about an ancient city while at the same time embracing a conclusion of naturalistic formation.

    This, it would seem, is also evidence of the human propensity to embrace mystery and exaggerate significance to satisfy fantasy at the expense of reason.

  8. I don’t know how is with “we” in your field of science, but in my field of science, even one good argument is enough to prove a theory wrong. But then, you don’t have a theory, just an opinion based on incomplete picture. In this case, you’re not supposed to be arrogant toward other people’s hypothesis, you’re supposed to have an argumented discussion. Discussion with numbers, not with words.

    As for: “We have no cultural evidence in the region that correlates to this kind of alleged architecture.”

    I’m sorry, but cultural evidence is composed from a set of evidences you find and you connect in some kind of picture. This picture can be true or it can be false, it is just your best guess for the moment. After all, every new culture was discovered at some moment and was out of the cultural context for the period. If you saw the structure above water and on other part of the world, would you so easily call it natural? I doubt it.

    So, I don’t care what your “we” say, I believe my eyes. The structure is interesting and correlates with natural, but also with artificial origin. The relation with the rocks above the water is obvious – they are part of the same region, they are supposed to be the similar. However that doesn’t exclude additional shaping or human use in no way. At least not until the whole structure is studies for marks of human use to confirm human presence and then even more marks to say if the structures was human built or not.

    Note, underwater archeology is just gathering force, it lacks good statistics, good methodology and good specialists. But that doesn’t mean it should be so easily called “fantasy at the expense of reason”. Sorry, but I’m very far from this state of mind. I like reason way too much. But until I see a contradiction, there is no problem for reason.

  9. In this case, you’re not supposed to be arrogant toward other people’s hypothesis, you’re supposed to have an argumented discussion.

    I’m not arrogant toward an hypothesis. I’m arrogant toward a speculation that hasn’t any merit.

    I’m sorry, but cultural evidence is composed from a set of evidences you find and you connect in some kind of picture. This picture can be true or it can be false, it is just your best guess for the moment. After all, every new culture was discovered at some moment and was out of the cultural context for the period.

    Except we (archaeologists) have a very good picture of the cultural development of the region at specific spatial-temporal points which is inconsistent with any hypothesis that includes a civilization capable of megalithic architecture 10,000+ years ago. Pottery wasn’t even discovered at this point. Writing wasn’t in use. Significance-junkies and mystery-mongers are applying attributes to a natural phenomenon, forcing the square peg of geology into a round hole of anthropology. It just doesn’t work without introducing far too many new assumptions. Occam’s Razor dictates that the most parsimonious explanation is the one that includes the fewest new assumptions. What we (real science) knows about the region and the geology does not require human presence. There simply is no good reason to apply human activity to the geologic formation under the waves of Yonaguni.

    If you saw the structure above water and on other part of the world, would you so easily call it natural? I doubt it.

    Why wouldn’t I? There is no cultural indication. No evidence of tool-work. No epigraphy. No evidence of human habitation or modification. Indeed, there is a formation just like it meters from the underwater site! I linked to photos of it. No one seems to be implying that these “steps” and “corridors” above the waves are man-made. Perhaps because they have the benefit of scale that a pedestrian has where a diver “floating” above or alongside -or a mystery-monger/significance-junkie mesmerized by a photo- doesn’t have.

    I don’t care what your “we” say, I believe my eyes. The structure is interesting and correlates with natural, but also with artificial origin.

    This is called pareidolia and anthropomorphism. I highly recommend Faces in the Clouds by anthropologist Stewart Guthrie.

    underwater archeology is just gathering force, it lacks good statistics, good methodology and good specialists.

    Not really. While there is always room for progress in any archaeological focus, very good methodologies and specialists exist for it. Moreover, undersea geology has an excellent track record and getting better all the time. There’s nothing to see there for the underwater archaeologist except, perhaps, the occasional lost cargo, abandoned anchor, or sunken fishing vessel.

    I like reason way too much. But until I see a contradiction, there is no problem for reason.

    Then you have a reasoned explanation for the position that a “city” carved of stone exists in a location that was last above sea level over 10,000 years ago? When no such civilization capable of producing monumental architecture existed? Let’s hear you “reasoned” explanation that is without “contradiction.”

  10. I think you’re getting on the wrong tone with me, but suit yourself.

    What was that about when pottery wasn’t even discovered:
    http://www.physorg.com/news163141367.html
    which says:
    “The find in Yuchanyan Cave dates to as much as 18,000 years ago, researchers report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

    It got published into PNAS. It was peer-reviewed. Is it a speculation?

    I don’t want to bother your belief into your science, but at least in mine, theories tend to get reshaped when an observation contradicts them. Something might make sense at one point of space-time and then to become obviously wrong and this is normal.That’s why I believe observations – it doesn’t matter if there was a civilization that could construct the structure, what matters is to find out independently of the cultural contexts if it has signs of human tools and construction work or not. That’s all. The civilization is a secondary assumption, the observations are the reality.

    And what I meant by “there isn’t enough statistics and methodology” – well there isn’t. How many objects are studied in detail under the water? How many people have checked in details objects underwater to be experience enough to know signs of human tools easily and surely. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there are thousands of young specialists who get trained every year to work with underwater archaeological objects but I doubt it. And until you don’t get the statistic and enough people who have qualified opinion, then you cannot give too big credibility to the results.

    P.S. A bonus question. What do you think will stay from our own civilization if it ceases to exist? What do you think eventual survivors or simply outsiders would find under the water if a city or a country-side goes underwater 10 000 years later. I don’t know how you (archaeologists) get your good pictures, but if this civilisation didn’t have plastic wrapping, after 10 000 years, I would be very careful before giving definite answer. And certainly I would make sure I’ll have the funding and I’ll personally go underwater to study this interesting object. Simply because it is interesting and because if it is artificial it would be quite a discovery. You don’t have to answer to the P.S.

  11. I think you’re getting on the wrong tone with me, but suit yourself.

    What was that about when pottery wasn’t even discovered:

    which says:
    “The find in Yuchanyan Cave dates to as much as 18,000 years ago, researchers report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

    It got published into PNAS. It was peer-reviewed. Is it a speculation?

    First, you seem to be creating a straw man. Second, what I said about pottery holds. The culture referred to above has no bearing on the culture(s) alleged to exist at Yonaguni without introducing some new assumptions. Indeed, that’s what the woo crowd who insist that the underwater geology of the island is “man-made” does best: weave web after web of assumptions.

    The island of Yonaguni is part of an island chain that, during the lowest sea-levels of Holocene glacial periods, may have been linked by narrow landbridges. Japan never was, incidentally, and, consequently, there is no evidence of human habitation there until much later. The same may hold for Yonaguni. If it was one of the islands that was isolated from the landbridges to Mainland China, then it may not have had human habitation until well after the Last Glacial Maximum.

    Pottery wasn’t developed in Okinawa, which we know for sure was part of the landbridge link, until just after 10,000 years BP. This period is often referred to as the Shellmound period and the rudimentary ceramics that do appear are very simple and not fired very well. There’s a clear evolution of ceramic ability, which is expected with a growing and developing culture (or set of successive cultures) in a given region. There is no evidence of pottery existing in the island region there prior to 10,000 years BP. And, in places where such pottery is in existence, it is very rudimentary and basic lacking the techniques one would expect of a culture capable of monumental architecture.

    But, even if we were to assume that pottery existed throughout habitable Japan prior to 10 Ka; and even if we were to assume that the specific island of Yonaguni were inhabited at this time (these are probably stretches), then this says *nothing* about their ability to create monumental architecture. It would only speak to their ability to lump a special bit of dirt in a ball, press it into a bowl shape and learn (by accident) that if you try to boil water in it the bowl gets harder. Pottery was very likely invented many, many times in the world once control of fire was established. The technological capabilities of a culture who lumps clay into bowls pales in comparison to the capabilities of one which has the ability to create monumental architecture. This isn’t because the individuals of one culture is more or less intelligent than that of another. It’s because the culture that produces monumental architecture has sorted out mass production of food, has an elite hierarchy capable of directing labor, a labor force capable of being directed, and clear stratification within the society that allows for specialization of labor.

    If we continue with this speculation of fantasy and assume that there existed a culture capable of monumental architecture on the scale represented by the underwater geology at Yonaguni, then we would need to ask ourselves why no evidence of their existence? Where are the human remains? Why no structures on high ground? Why not cultural materials on high grounds (pottery, stonework, bones, cut marks on faunal remains, etc.). We would also expect to see signs of extensive agricultural production in the region in the way of cultivation of rice and grain (which was actually beginning to happen on very, very small scales by 13 Ka in China) and we might expect to see giant shell or bone middens from faunal remains that fed them (we see these in other places where monumental architecture occurs).

    To provide an analog, the site of Gobekli Tepe in modern Turkey was, perhaps, the site of earliest monumental architecture, and it dates to about 11,500 yrs ago. There are also signs of agriculture which is consistent with estimates that, in order for a society of their technological level to produce the architecture they did, a very high caloric intake and significant manhours were needed each year of construction. Thus, some are hypothesizing that agriculture may have emerged in response to the needs of a workforce. The site of Gobekli Tepe is probably about 1/4 the size of the underwater geological formation off the coast of Yonaguni (though I’ve not attempted to measure it -I think its clear the former is diminutive in size compared to the latter, however). The blocks used in construction are much smaller than the “blocks” which naturally occur in Yonaguni. Indeed, this is more evidence that nature created the site, not man since Occam’s Razor would dictate the use of many smaller blocks over a few large ones; moreover the technology simply did not exist to move stones of the size suggested at Yonaguni, perhaps even today.

    “it doesn’t matter if there was a civilization that could construct the structure,

    On the contrary, this matters a great deal. If there wasn’t a culture capable of the construction, then it didn’t occur when and/or how it is suggested.

    what matters is to find out independently of the cultural contexts if it has signs of human tools and construction work or not. That’s all. The civilization is a secondary assumption, the observations are the reality.

    If you’re saying that evidence of the civilization could be found in the site, which would then be evidence of a civilization, creating a new set of assumptions and understanding, then yes, that would be the case. However, there have been numerous investigations of the underwater site and none have turned up data, which are indicative of this. Moreover, if there were a human habitation there, then there should be above water as well, given what we know about human settlement patterns: people like high ground (storms, defense, observation, etc.) and, as sea-levels gradually rose, it follows that they would have gradually adjusted to higher ground. There simply is not supporting data above the waves. Indeed, the data above the sea surface (i.e. the geology) supports the geologic assumptions below the waves.

    There simply is no good reason to even entertain the idea that a civilization created some sort of “complex” at the, now undersea site, at Yonaguni.

    And what I meant by “there isn’t enough statistics and methodology,“ well there isn’t. How many objects are studied in detail under the water?

    There are entire journals and edited volumes devoted solely to this endeavor as well as specialized archaeologists who are actively researching and lecturing on underwater archaeology. Your making the fallacy of “argument from ignorance:” you’re not aware of it, therefore it must be inadequate.

    How many people have checked in details objects underwater to be experience enough to know signs of human tools easily and surely.

    I personally have cited in many papers the efforts of underwater archaeology and geology which has identified both paleo-shorelines and Paleolithic artifacts of human habitation. Indeed, this is an ongoing bit of exploration in regions near Africa and the Arabian Peninsula since there is good evidence of human dispersal at lowered sea levels through these regions. People all over the world know how to do this and I know of several archaeologists who do underwater work -personally, I think they just want an excuse to have grant money pay for their dives in cool places! 🙂

    And until you don’t get the statistic and enough people who have qualified opinion, then you cannot give too big credibility to the results.

    Nonsense. How many qualified people would you require a list of to revise this argument from ignorance? What would the “statistic” be? What sort of ratio would you be looking for? What would be a genuine rubric that could gauge mankind’s ability to study undersea archaeological contexts? Undersea, maritime, and lacustrine archaeology has been happening since the word “scuba” was formed from combining the first letters of “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.” And their quite good at it.

    What do you think will stay from our own civilization if it ceases to exist?

    Irrelevant to the discussion, primarily because the technological advances that allow for metallurgy and petroleum by products do not have ancient analogs. Secondarily, because there are enough good types of cultural data that *would* survive from 10 Ka+ ago that we know what to look for that we do not need to impose our own cultural habits and expectations on ancient ones, even *supposed* ancient ones. This is part of the problem that is afflicting the woo crowd that sees the geology of Yonaguni as some sort of “high civilization:” they are anthropomorphizing the geologic formations into patterns recognized by modern humans as “city-like” whereas a prehistoric human would have looked upon the rock formations in the Shellmound period just after the last glaciation and saw rocks.

  12. You are big scieptic.Example of a blind man.Did you dive there?I did many time in past 2 years witch some reserchers.Its not nature made i can tell you.If you wont to know more Find us nera cost in japan from 10 september 2010.We are grop of many people from all part of world collecting and gathering forgotten knowledg.Now we are in INdia.Many this wos forgoten i time.We wont to knew them better

  13. What about the inner carved right angle at the sight? I recently watched a show about the ruins and the divers pointed out that there were right angles that were cut INTO the rock, not formed on the outside. What is the explanation for this? I also find it very hard to believe, although possible, that the face has such distinct features such as eyes, nose, mouth and what looks like sometype of hair or feathers from the head of the face.

  14. Can you link to a proper survey or cite a survey of this “right angle?” It would be difficult to comment on it otherwise. However, there’s no reason to accept 1) that a right angle actually exists -the angle could very well be slight less than or more than 90 degrees, or 2) that, even if a 90 degree angle existed at the site, that it couldn’t be natural. Contrary to the myth, nature is quite good at creating 90 degree angles.

  15. I am interested in your thoughts on the ruins in Kosrae, Ponape, the Easter Islands…I dabble in archeology and find it interesting that these monumental forms of architecture exist in the Western Pacific. I dream that a seafaring peoples used it to mark the boundaries of their travels, or to leave some message behind.
    Any thoughts from your end?

    Thanks
    Troy

  16. This is specific to cfeagens and Troy. The pottery angle doesn’t fly anywhere. Lapita pottery was faithfully tracked from China to Samoa, roughly following the path of Polynesian migrations. Then it stopped. Hawaiians didn’t have pottery. But we built some some good monumental structures anyway – most using the small rocks mentioned above, but some using HUGE rocks. Because Hawaii does not have metals, all of our tools had to be made from rocks. But our degree of sophistication in building monumental structures (heiau mostly), weaving waterproof baskets, making cloth and fishing nets, carving fine fish hooks, weaving feather cloaks can hardly be called Stone Age in the same sense that term is applied to European Stone Age cultures.
    But we do have lots of evidence of the culture that did the work – rock quarries, broken tools, petroglyphs. I was hoping the Yonaguri formations could be linked to cultural evidence but there seems not to be any “tracks” left behind. Tongans, Samoans, Tahitians, Nuku Hiva, Aotearoa, Rapa Nui, Hawaii – all proven linkages to each other with evidenced technologies. When that evidence could not be found by archaeologists, we offered our oral histories, which were ignored because we didn’t write them on paper like the white man did. But the oral histories are now proven to “support” archaeology to the extent that archaeologists will now (sometimes) look to our oral history for clues to explain archaeological evidence that modern science cannot be explained.
    For example, our oral mythology described a battle between the deities of snow (in Hawaii!) and fire (the famous volcanic Pele). In that story, snow and ice defeated the volcanic forces. In 1979 or so, the geologists finally “discovered” that a Mauna Kea glacier had once covered the volcanic vents and the result was compressed basalt that Hawaiians used to make tools. The oral histories were the structural diagrams that guided our redevelopment of long-distance voyaging. While the Europeans struggled mightily to get off their continent, Polynesians sailed happily all over the Pacific. While Europeans congratulated themselves on finding north and eventually built the sextant, we did all of that with astronomical knowledge. While the great Columbus sweated falling off the earth, we sailed to the islands closest to the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer and marked them to further our sue of celestial knowledge. In fact, we know that the 1400’s were close to the height of our voyaging.
    I say all this in hopes of convincing today’s archaeologists that pottery and writing are not necessarily solid evidence of an advanced civilization. Without paper, we can still recite our genealogies back deep into your BCE.
    The “statues” of Rapa Nui are Polynesian, as you know. The branches of Polynesia covered most of the Pacific, from South and North American to westward of Tonga. Our mythology goes even farther west and both mythology and oral history go farther east. Our volcano and water deities, by the way, were supposed to have practiced their techniques in the far west – maybe Yonaguni?
    Aloha,
    Keawe

  17. annunaki remnants. Read ” The lost book of Lord Enki” to get a “Brain Update” to what really happened here on earth shortly after we crawled out of the primortal soup.

  18. Unfortunately, the only thing you can get from that book or any other written by Sitchin is a first-hand look into the life and times of a crackpot. Very little of anything Sitchin makes claims to has any basis in reality.

  19. http://www.kidsgeo.com/geology-for-kids/0074-erosion-rivers-lakes-streams.php

    Note in what I found in a kids geology site says : The most influential force in erosion is water. Water’s ability to move materials from one location to another, along with the fact that it is found everywhere along the surface of the earth, make it a superb tool for erosion.

    Please circle on a map where your supposed sand that is causing faster erosion above surface is coming from? This island is located around some other islands Taiwan being the largest possible contributor of airborn sand some 60 miles west, unlikely due to normal weather patterns blowing winds west and southwest, making the island 40 miles to the east your likely source as the vast majority of the island is cut from rock by the strong current (0.4–1.3 m/s) surrounding the island, ruleing out shore based beaches only about 5 km of total beach around the island based on satelite images and photos of the beaches. (note the island to the east is very similar)

    You yourself said that the currents in the region would have no trouble moving debris from the “structure”. They are strong, and should have had some effects on the stone. Strong currents would also easily drag away pots/weapons/hooks/etc. making it more difficult to prove civilization.

    All that being said, these “steps” are on the order of 3 feet tall more or less, if you look at the divers in various pictures, no culture in that region would be building ALL of their “steps” to that kind of scale, especially not if they were carving out of stone. There are pictured sinkholes, but seem to be no sort of carved out shelter into the rockface, which seems atypical to that sort of stucture; making these seem like water carved holes by (most likely) whirlpools as water levels raised.

    Occam’s Razor? In my opinion, you are still over complicating this. First, the “structure” is not formed or cut in a way that would indicate manmade structure. Second, It has the same properties as the land nearest the site.
    Third, the entire area is and has been riddled with earthquakes for the entirety
    of it’s recorded history, earthquakes have been known to cause such formations
    (usualy far away from the epicenter). Finally, the strong currents in the area are largely unidirectional, making it easier to cut in straight(er) lines, especially for the relativly short distances, considering the water levels rise and weather’s effects on helping cut into a rockface with wind.

    The “pyramid” near cuba on the other hand, is a much more likely sunken man-made artifact.

  20. After seeing these underwater megaliths filmed by a diving crew, you would have to be crazy to thing these were natural occurring formations. These stones are clearly stacked on top of each other forming tunnels and archways. Like the ruins on land in Egypt and South America, one has to marvel at the technical expertise of pre mechanical man, quarrying blocks of stone that weighed hundreds of tons, carving granite blocks to current day precision and tolerances with nothing more than copper tools, moving them many miles without the benefit of the wheel, pulleys and strong cables, then hoisting these megaliths many stories in the air and placing them with laser like precision. This doesn’t even take into account the perfect alignment with the earth meridians and astronomical star groups, and the confounding mathematical equations found in their construction like Pi and dimensional references to earths measurements. Not to mention that we would struggle with today’s modern technology to replicate these sites. These facts alone should make one ponder, what else is going on here. To believe that these ancient builders accomplished these feats at the time archeologist believe without any technology is just folly.

  21. There simply are no good reasons to believe 1) that the formations under the ocean surface at Yonaguni are modified or “constructed” by man; 2) anything other than natural, geological formations; 3) that the site was above sea level at a period in time when humans were able to build actual megalithic sites.

    None of the formations exhibit any evidence of being human engineered. All of the formations are well within expectations of natural geologic processes.

    To believe there were ancient builders is folly.

  22. Then you dispute the findings of the scientific crew, who have first hand knowledge of these sites and experts that have come to a completely different conclusion? Obviously the History Channel felt differently and compelled to include their findings on their series.

    I feel a lot more convinced by a Japanese Archeologist who was on site and put forth his theory.

  23. As an archaeologist who follows scientific methods, yes. I dispute the findings of the “crew” alleged as “scientific.” But I’m willing to do so provisionally. Should evidence be published that conclusively supports a man-made hypothesis, I’ll give it serious consideration. But the spurious hypothesis of a single fringe, and perhaps discredited, archaeologist isn’t enough to rely on, particularly when the only publishing authority is the History Channel and not an archaeological journal of his peers. The History Channel, I should remind you, treats much silliness and the paranormal as “fact” and they do so because the realize people in general are significance-junkies and mystery-mongers.

  24. Where else in nature have you seen these types of formations, equal steps lined by a corridor ?

    At Yonaguni for one. Look at the last photo in the article above.

    There are in fact many geologic formations around the globe that are very much “step-like.” But what the Yonaguni underwater photos don’t show you is scale. The vast majority of the “steps” are not to human proportion. That is, they are not spaced and sized like steps that a person might use. Some can be measured in feet and to “step” from on to the other would be difficult or impossible without a ladder.

    The number of new assumptions one would have to agree to in order to accept this as an archaeological site and not a geological one are not insignificant. This is what I’ve said and demonstrated in the article above and in the comments that have followed.

  25. You do have to admit that Graham Hancock, has spent countless hours researching and visiting these ancient sites. The fact that he took a crash course in scuba diving in order to inspect these sites personally, tells me of his dedication to investigate these sites. Having read some of his books, I’m convinced that he is not someone who takes things lightly or who’s only focus is to make money on these books. When he says that these sites have a human touch to it, I thing his credibility is beyond reproach. But that aside, what is the aversion to considering these sites to be man made? Even the geologist, who perceptively determined that the Sphinx was in fact many years older than thought by determining that the erosion in the rear of the sphinx was caused by rain fall, something not seen in that area for ten on thousands of years prior to the accepted age of the Sphinx. This sent the archeologist into a frenzy. He kept the door opened and agreed that there were things that were unexplainable in nature.

  26. Recent American saying: rhetoric is the last resort for those who lack facts.

    I’m more interested in genuine scientific study of geologic sites like Yonaguni than I am the ruminations of extinct Chinese culture. If you know of some evidence that I haven’t been exposed to, I’d like to see it. Thus far, nothing brought forth is suggestive of an actual archaeological problem.

    And I think Yonaguni is a good example of how lay-person perspective is easily distorted by the natural human tendency to seek mystery and significance. An ancient society that not only predates the Joman of the region and engaged in megalithic architecture that rivals the Egyptians, but also exists when only Paleolithic to Neolithic societies did everywhere else in the world is an idea that immediately appeals to many people. Especially the sort of people who are given to watching programs on “The History” channel or SyFy, which sensationalize and exploit beliefs in aliens, ghosts, and the paranormal.

    I’m glad you stopped by and engaged me in discussion. I can only hope you at least consider the rational perspective and see the possibility where you might be wrong in your assumptions. I, too, may be wrong, and I keep my conclusions provisionally. But the probability that I’m wrong in my assessment of Yonaguni is very remote given the physical evidence.

  27. Sorry, your second reply came during the time I was typing.

    Graham Hancock isn’t an archaeologist. In fact, he’s very much the sensationalist, exploiting that bit of curiosity and romantic desire for mystery that is innate in all of us. Indeed, he gets far, far more things utterly wrong in his books than he does right. Still, he literally banks on his readers being “convinced that he is not someone who takes things lightly.” He want’s you to believe that his credibility is beyond reproach, but the reality is that his credibility exists only among the gullible. Don’t get me wrong, many years ago, I was definitely among the gullible. I not only wanted to believe in all manner of strange and weird, but I did. UFO’s, the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, out-of-place artifacts, etc.

    Robert Schoch is the geologist that arrived at the extreme age of the Sphinx (10,000+ years old rather than about 4,500). And his conclusions are based on real science. And they work. But only if certain other data are ignored. Only if all the assumptions we have about the Khufu dynasty (and his father Sneferu) are wrong. These are assumptions that are, themselves, based on solid scientific evidence. If Schoch is correct, then all the other possibilities have to be accounted for, which include: 1) the hypothesis that the Sphinx was carved out of an existing rock outcrop and not quarried elsewhere and moved there; and 2) that the subsurface water table during periods when the Sphinx was nearly covered and wind erosion during periods it was exposed contribute to the data that he derived his conclusions from.

    Schoch didn’t send archaeologists in a “frenzy” so much as it hurt his own credibility among his peers for being prematurely conclusive with his data.

  28. Deni, you got it right. If cfeagans were a true scientist he would leave room for the possibility of him being incorrect. Hypothesis’ are just that- theories. How many times throughout history has science been incorrect and had to revise it’s findings. Archaeologists are constantly revising history of civilization and pushing the dates back further and further every year. Remember Troy? Schliemann was laughed at and called a “pseudo archaeologist” by his colleagues of his belief in a “myth” until he discovered it.
    I dare say it difficult for any reputable ” scientist” to make such definite claims or dismissals of the man made structures off of Yonaguni without ever having gone there to physically and scientifically study it. We call that an “armchair scientist” which isn’t much in the way of being credible. Leave room for doubt cfeagans, you are not completely and absolutely informed.

  29. Anthony is fractally wrong in his post. That is, he’s wrong in increasing magnitude with each new word.

    This starts with his assumption that I leave no room for doubt. In my comment above (2010/12/10 at 3:09 am in reply to Kevin Barry), I say, “I, too, may be wrong, and I keep my conclusions provisionally.”

    The video linked presents the site spuriously and offers no evidence for human construction. None. Zero. Zilch. It is possible that the site is human constructed, but this hypothesis relies on the assumption that the pre-pottery civilization that resided there was 1) numerous enough to expend the sort of man-hours of work necessary; 2) had the technology required to produce: a) megalithic stone architecture from natural rock, and b) agriculture on a massive scale to provide the necessary calories/energy for workers; 3) that the alleged civilization disappeared without any archaeological evidence of their existence.

    These assumptions are not trite. The null hypothesis to the above would be that the site is geologic. This is fully supported simply by examining the geologic features above the surface on the island, which match the below surface geology in strike and structure as well as stratigraphy.

    Anthony also makes appeals to the “armchair scientist,” which I am not. I’ve been in the field and observed many sites that are, indeed, megalithic as well as geologic, so I have a rich set of experienced data to draw from. I see no good reason to visit Yonaguni to assess the situation. I would happily go if the trip were funded by Anthony, however, and I keep this offer and my provisional conclusions at the ready. I caution him against funding my trip, though, since cost-benefit analysis does not support confirmation of his biased conclusions (biased toward mystery-mongering and significance-addiction).

    Anthony’s appeals to the fallibility of science as a means of supporting his irrational conclusion (which *is* clearly an “armchair” conclusion given his likely lack of experience and education on the topics of archaeology and geology) is also not relevant to the discussion. All science is provisional and my conclusions on Yonaguni are no different. This does not negate the fact that not a single commenter on this post has offered a citation that describes any data that are supportive. The closest that has come is the video which Anthony linked, in which the geologist who is clearly smitten by the idea, shows what he claims to be lithic technology. The camera is on the stones only briefly, but I saw no evidence that these were worked by human hands. Still, without a detailed sketch of the stones, or an up-close examination, it would be difficult to rule that out. Stone tools have clear signs of flaking in a pattern that simply doesn’t occur in nature -which seemed absent in the video.

    But lets assume that these were stone tools. How does one date them in context with the geology under the surface? One must assume that Neolithic Japanese fishing societies of 9,000 – 6,000 years ago used various stone tools. There’s no reason to think that they were 100% careful when fishing to not loose them overboard on their flimsy crafts.

    The site may, indeed, turn out to be human-constructed. But the evidence isn’t supporting that conclusion. So far, the only data shown are spurious at best.

  30. Funny thing is, I was over there in 1971-72, while in the Air Force and scuba dived off of the Southern coast of Okinawa. I made a trip to the southern islands off of Okinawa also. Unfortunately, I did not know about these ruins at the time. I did however visit the other ancient sites on the main Island.

  31. CFeagans sorry to see you battling mystery mongers on such a large scale – although i enjoyed reading the arguments. I support that this strange man made structure is actually natural like you suggest. I also believe that before people post on here they should read recent comments about the information you’ve put forward. Interesting structure but thats it, i also cant imagine why people would have to carve the rock in such a way to live there. I also found the labels on the diagram amusing. Also the steps don’t make any sense – they just don’t look uniform enough like you would find on a aztec pyramid or other man made structures and i don’t think people realize just how important technology is to carve, move and shape huge structures(as well as the evidence to support any technology was used at the time in that specific area).

  32. What I find interesting is there is no real examination of the geology of the place. What type of rock fractures like this and creates these interesting patterns? No mention? I doubt if the author is a geologist or he give that information and give other examples where this is true. If he was a real scientist in the true spirit of science he’d back up what he says with fact. He’s decided looking at the internet and made conclusions without ever having been there or studied these geological features. That makes him worse than Graham Hancock. That aside there are no distinctly human artifacts at the site that have been found as far as I know. It probably is natural but probably isn’t conclusive. To me the interesting and possibly more important idea is that somewhere in the world there may be a city or temple that was created at the height of the ice age and is now underwater. Why rule it out? Why not send in a geologist and maybe do a dig on the seafloor around this place so that one can conclusively say this is not man made.

  33. Fascinating discussion. CFeagans: although you stand firmly in the “natural formation” camp, the type of hypothesis at stake here makes it difficult to conclusively rule out human intervention in the Yonaguni site. I agree that there’s a gap of evidence to firmly place the site in the “man-made” category, however, as with many archeological milestones, one need only find one needle in the haystack to confirm human influence on this site.

    Holding the opinion that ” Indeed, there is one bit of compelling evidence which stipulates that the features couldn’t be man-made: there was no culture engaging in large-scale stone architecture at nearly 10,000 years ago” directly begs the question of human intervention.

    THat is, if you already stipulate that no such culture could have existed, then by virtue of their non-existence, there could be no human influence. The problem is that to have this debate, you cannot simply start with the assumption that no human culture was existent or capable of this. That’s not a debate. That’s begging the question.

    Also, the existence of pottery need not have arisen if a set of cultures had technology to make waterproof containers out of reed-like plant materials. All I’m saying here is that we cannot categorically rule out human intervention by stipulating that no such culture existed.

  34. So, the last couple of commentors had a few criticisms. Some valid… some not so much. Steven criticized that there was “no real examination of the geology.” A valid criticism. I critiqued the interpretations of the geology, but offered little beyond that. Steven also doubted that I’m a geologist and he’d be right about that. I’m an archaeologist. But my undergraduate minor is in geology, so I’m more than capable of giving the information needed. I just never followed through with tracking it down. So here it is:

    Robert Schoch, a geologist at the University of Boston who has dived at Yonaguni many times, thinks the formations are mostly natural. They are made of bedrock, rather than built with separate blocks, and Schoch points out that the rock is sedimentary, with horizontal layers that break along parallel lines as they erode. The region’s tectonic activity also splits the rock along vertical fault lines. So the strong currents that sweep the area would erode rock along these lines, carving out platforms and steps, he says. “You get a regular blocky structure quite naturally” (New Scientist 2009).

    And this is coming from a geologist who has had some spectacular claims of his own about the Sphinx in Egypt, which are well-refuted elsewhere. So it isn’t as if I’m looking for someone who is a staunch skeptic to “debunk” the mystery-mongering.

    What is possible, and I’ve never disputed, is that some of the natural formations present could have been modified prehistorically by humans. But the site isn’t formed by moving “blocks” of stone, etc. This is almost certain. As a rule, I never exclude anything from being possible, but there are necessarily some things that are extremely, extremely improbable given current knowledge. That the Sun actually revolves around the Earth and not the other way around is one of those things. It’s possible. But that possibility is so remote as to be silly to believe. That this is a man-made site is improbable at a level just under the Sun/Earth analogy above.

    And this for several reasons.

    First, the geology below the surface is consistent with the geology above the surface. The same jointing and fracturing is present.

    Second, the cultures that were in existence on the island and on neighboring Taiwan (which would have been linked by a land-bridge 10k+ years ago) are not unknown. There’s still mcuh, much left to learn about these cultures. But what’s clear is that they weren’t of the size and technological capability to engage in this sort of megalithic architecture. And I don’t say this lightly. The caloric requirement for this sort of culture is not insignificant. Nor is the amount of labor-hours, which directly affects the number of individuals required. And this sort of labor necessarily creates stratification within a society that just isn’t present in the cultural remains found on the island or on Taiwan.

    Third, there is a good bit of geological work that has been done in the region. The geology of the Ryukyu Arc is pretty well understood. Nothing in the photos shown to date is inconsistent with what would be expected given the current understanding of the local geology and tectonics and the site itself likely looked very different 10kya than it does today given the seismic and volcanic activities (Nakamura and Hiroshi 2003).

    The region that includes Yonaguni Island underwent a “doming phase” (Glasby and Notsu 2003, p. 300) in the Early Tertiary and resulting tensions led to a fracturing of the brittle crust during the Middle Miocene. “Normal faulting and fault block rotation extended and thinned the crust lowering the surface level. This was the “rifting phase”” (p. 300).

    The limestone on the island, including that under the surface is very probably the Naha Limestone, which is up to 20 meters thick, or possibly the Makiminato Limestone, also about 20 meters thick. Both of these are from the Shimajiri Gorup, which originates from the Late Miocene to the Early Pleistocene (Machida 1973; Tsuchi 1975).

    To answer Jay’s criticism, I don’t stipulate that “no such culture could have existed,” rather no such culture appears to have existed. In addition, I stipulate that to suggest a culture did exist at the time, which would have been capable of producing the megalithic architecture that is being suggested, so many new assumptions would need to be introduced that it makes saying anthing at all about the past useless. If we allow such assumptions, then anything is possible and anyone’s idea, speculation, or wild guess is as valid as anyone’s evidenced-based hypothesis.

    Also, I still haven’t seen anyone, particularly in the “man-made” camp, explain why the “steps” are such that one would need to be a 20 foot giant to traverse them casually.

    The more parsimonious explanation is a natural formation that consists of fractured and jointed limestone as a result of tectonic, seismic, and erosional forces.

    Selfless Disclaimer: there are likely several misspellings and typos… I actually typed this out in Notepad at work during a couple breaks and lunch. My apologies in advance.

    References

    Glasby, G.P. and K. Notsu (2003). Submarine hydrothermal mineralization in the Okinawa Trough, SW of Japan: an overview. Ore Geology Reveiws, 23, pp. 299-339.

    New Scientist (2009). Yonaguni, Japan. New Scientist, 204(2736), p. 41.

    Machida, H. (1973). Tephrochronology of coastal terraces and their tectonic deformation in South Kanto. Journal of Geography, 82(2), pp. 1-24.

    Nakamura, Mamoru and Hiroshi Katao (2003). Microearthquakes and faulting in the southern Okinawa Trough. Tectonophysics, 372(3-4), pp. 167-177.

    Tsuchi, R.(1975). Geology of southern Okinawa Island, with reference to the formation of the Yamashita-cho cave. Journal of Anthropolical Society of Nippon, 83(2), 131-136.

  35. Interesting debate. When Robert Schoch says the stone structures are “mostly” natural, doesn’t that imply he considers some of them are not natural? I have an open mind, but it does seem to me that you, as archeologist, are stuck with a paradigm you can’t get out of. Sure, Hancock probably makes more money than most historians and archeologists, but that might not be solely because the general public are suckers for “mystery.”

  36. I don’t know how many times to say it. I’ve never disputed that it is *possible* that *some* of the features were *modified* by humans in antiquity.

    When Robert Schoch says they’re “mostly natural” he means there is some possibility for modification. But, mostly, he’s a mystery-monger who is trying not to alienate his fan-base. Schoch has some controversial speculations that haven’t born fruit in other areas. I used his perspective to show that even a mystery-monger is skeptical of the artificial claim. But, if you bothered to read the rest, you’d see I also included the work of other geologists in the region itself.

    Prehistoric humans almost certainly didn’t create the geologic features present. In other words, the site isn’t man-made. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t man-used. There may have been some minor shaping of some small portions of the features. But if you want to just sit there and say I’m “stuck with a paradigm I can’t get out of” you’re going to have to present some evidence that suggests that the paradigm I’m working with should be got out of!

    That paradigm, by the way, is evidenced-based archaeology. Science.

    Not the mystery-mongering of significance-junkies who get all worked up at something they simply haven’t the education to explain. And I don’t mean that pejoratively. A lack of education in geology and archaeology is not bad… unless you claim to be a “independent scholar” or to “know” something that such an education would require. Most people who hear about “underwater pyramids” and “lost civilizations” are naturally curious and excited. But those that are purveyors of the information are pretending to know something they can’t support with evidence. Which is why I posted on this to begin with. Reality needs its champion.

    If anyone has evidence or a reasoned argument to refute the paragraphs I’ve written, I’m all ears … or eyes. I’m completely willing to revise my position. Just show the evidence. Show good reason why this should be considered a man-made site and not a naturally formed geologic structure.

    The evidence to support the latter is tremendous! The same features exist above the ocean, the geology is consistent with what is already known about fractured and jointed limestone, there were no cultures of “high civilization” or even cultures that engaged in this sort of architecture at the time, there is no evidence of construction, there is significant evidence of nature… etc., etc.

    The “if-you-were-a-scientist-your-mind-would-be-open” mantra is tired, old, and misapplied.

  37. First of all the writer is also mostly the commenter on this blog site…you are NOT a scientist either its very clear…and yet you type about how dumb everyone else is just because they dont want to agree with you and what you have to say. In the future you will find not many will be willing to add comments when the person controlling the site is as arrogant as you are.

    You have no supporting evidence of your own to “prove” that this area was not man man. Just like there is not evidence to prove that there is. Either way both sides have no proof. Arguing about it only proves who is really the ignorant one…usually the one that consistently brings it up and throws its words at people he or she does not know simply because they are protected on the internet.

    Ancient human history is very ancient. Humans have been around for at least 1 million years. The only reason why you are here today to rant on the internet and call people names is because your ancestors did something right. I cannot the same for your descendents. Not every Scientist “thinks” the same. They have opinions too and lets not forget they are no more robotic than you are. You stereo typed an entire group of people with the false claims that all scientists have “open minds”…however, open minded does not mean they have to agree with you. You need to get a grip honey…you have a very long ways to go. Since I know your type I will expect you to type something totally irrelevant full of insults back at me…..have fun.

  38. I am, actually, a scientist. School-trained and everything 🙂

    There are many, very smart people that disagree with me, yet I acknowledge without hesitation that they are smart, intelligent folk. So that sort of invalidates your assumption that I think those who disagree are “dumb” (not a word I choose, by the way). I am, however, arrogant -that I freely (and, arrogantly, admit). But I’m also quite funny and charming, so that makes up for it.

    With regard to “supporting evidence” to “prove” (this is really a term best relegated to mathematics rather than physical sciences) the Yonaguni underwater formations are not “man-made” -I’m not required to have any. I’m not putting forth an extraordinary claim. My claim is quite mundane, actually. The extraordinary claim is one that requires many, many new assumptions about cultural achievements at a period in time and space where these achievements are neither expected nor demonstrated. My only claim is that there exists natural geologic formations to which I have provided ample evidence in the article and comments above. Not a single feature depicted by photographs yet produced by the man-made camp show anything that doesn’t already appear in the natural geologic record. The one cultural artifact I remember seeing was a stone anchor, the deposition of which may have occurred at anytime in the last few hundred to several thousand years.

    “Ancient human history is very ancient.”

    And wet paint is wet. But the modern human form hasn’t been around for “at least 1 million years. Most estimates place anatomically modern humans at a period that begins at about 200,000 to 250,000 years ago. This is based on estimated mutation rates that underlie present diversity and supported by fossil evidence (Klein 2009). And I agree, wholeheartedly, that “not every scientist thinks the same (though I can fathom why you might put thinks in quotes -as if the concept of “thinking” is something you’re skeptical of). What a boring institution science would be if everyone thought the same.

    I hope I haven’t risen to your challenge of insults back at you, and I truly thank you for visiting A Hot Cup of Joe. We can have a dialog here about science and archaeology and the epistemological implications with, but I suspect you’re not interested. I’m not sure why my comments may have touched a nerve, but the facts and data are what they are: the Yonaguni underwater formations are geologic and there are plenty of reasons to consider them so and not a single, rational reason to think they are man-made. There is one good reason to consider them man-made, but only if you care about Yonaguni tourist trade.

    Incidentally, there is a wonderful ethnography written on post-World War II Yonaguni people written by Arne Røkkum: Nature, Ritual, and Society in Japan’s Ryukyu Islands. I read this a few months ago and found much of it thoroughly fascinating.

    Klein, Richard (2009). The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

  39. I’ve been on youtube watching Graham Hancock’s series, Quest for the Lost Civilization. He presents some fairly compelling evidentiary connections, however since the audience is not a scientific audience, but the “popular masses”, clearly a lot of the science is “dumbed down”. — That’s not to say the public is “dumb” but that the evidence, and dissenting opinion is “glossed over” in many cases.

    The correlation he makes with 10,500 BC is quite interesting; however it’s interesting that he seems to take the precession of the equinoxes into account when convenient, but only introduces them when it serves his purpose to do so. He also conveniently adds points to the Nazca Spider to show that it correlates to Orion – heck, that’s easy – look at the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, and put dots at the joints of the people on the cover – there’s a constellation that ancient astronauts might, as one person put it, “hang out in or something.”

    Bringing this comment to the point – I’ve skimmed over many comments – I don’t have enough time to go through them all, but from what I’ve seen, the commenters who are supporting the theory that Yonaguni is man-made are challenging you to provide evidence that the structure is not man-made. As you say, and you’re right, you don’t need to provide it, nor can you – a negative cannot be proven. It is incumbent upon those making the claim to provide evidence to prove their case. In the case of Hancock’s claims, there is a large amount of confirmation psychology. He ties numerous yet tenuous pieces of information together to show astronomical parallels. Precessional Numbers in Angkor Wat, solar observations at the solstices and equinoxes (conveniently forgetting that precession moves the dates, as well as the Sun’s position around), and even the number of steps on the pyramid at Chichen Itza – and they all seem to correlate to 10,500 BC.

    That is not to say that there was NOT something going on 12,000 years ago. I am certainly of the opinion that something was on the Giza Plateau 12,000 years ago, and, quite likely, the precursor to the pyramids and the Sphinx, but evidence also shows that civilizations tend to build upon and borrow from the cultures of those that came before. Romulus, the founder of Rome was, apparently, born of a virgin. Krishna was crucified and resurrected 3 days later. Dionysus turned water into wine and was eaten in a form of eucharistic ritual, and rose from the dead. The point being we can believe what we choose to believe, but when evidence is present, we have to be flexible enough with our beliefs to change them to account for the new evidence. I’m a Christian, yet evidence suggests that we evolved. None of that, certainly not Dionysus, Krishna, nor Romulus discount evolution, the (believed) existence of God, or anything else I -choose- to believe.

    How does all this tie into Yonaguni? Well, Yonaguni looks man-made. It looks like there are terraces, post holes, stairways, etc. It’s interesting, and could be man-made. But is it? For me, the scientific jury is still out. I like the idea of it being man-made, but I just don’t know, and don’t consider it important enough to argue strongly either way. However I think, I will ~choose~ to believe that 12,000 years ago, there was an ancient civilization which influenced many varying cultures around the world.

  40. Great article. I like the fact that you stick around in the forum posts. It shows conviction. As far as this being man made. I have to agree with you. Espeacially the part where you explain the steps not being porportioned. I just built a deck off my back yard and know first hand how retarded it would have been of me to spend time effort and money building steps I cant use. Cheers.

  41. I was interested to come upon your article about the Yonaguni Monument. This certainly is a mysterious feature.
    Part Two of my article series on Robert Schoch will deal with the Yonaguni Monument. Part One is titled, ” The Mysterious Anti-Scientific Agenda of Robert Schoch: Part 1 – The Bosnian Pyramid Complex.”
    Have a scientific day!

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  3. Yonaguni (Japón) « PoderesUnidos:ARCHIVO
  4. Review: Expedition Unknown and Josh Gates | A Hot Cup of Joe
  5. Review: Expedition Unknown and Josh Gates - 4you

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