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Published: January 18th 2012
Risk analysis training course for Micronesians
The Lost Stone City – NANMADOL
Last May 2010, I travelled to Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia to conduct a risk assessment training course (Image 1). That was one of the most enjoyable training courses I ever had. The Micronesians were so quick to learn and apply the knowledge gained. After all, risk analysis is one of those subjects that you learn by doing. No matter how many reference materials you read, if you don’t do it – it will be guess work!! And as an outcome, we are now in the process of releasing an introductory training course manual on risk analysis, maybe in a couple more weeks.
It takes about an hour or so by boat (Image 2) and another half an hour beach walk. Before reaching this archaeological site, you can have a glimpse of village life, e.g. young boys collecting and cleaning trochus shells (Image 3, Image 4) that are sold by the kilos to Korea. Or if you are lucky, one might meet the village head (Image 5) and view some flora (Image 6) and fauna (Image 7) to reach this archeological site.
The breadfruit tree (Image 8) belongs
One hour or so boat ride to reach the site.
to the group of mulberry trees commonly found in Southeast Asian, most of Pacific Island countries and serve as a staple food for the region. When cooked it gives a potato-like flavor similar to a freshly baked bread – thus the genesis of the name breadfruit!
According to Wikipedia, Nan Madol is a ruined city (Image 9,10,11,12) located in the eastern shore of Pohnpei – used to be the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty until about 1628. The site with its stone walls has an approximate area of 1.5 km long by 0.5 km wide containing nearly 100 artificial islets with stones and coral platforms bordered by tidal canals. The name Nan Madol means “spaces between” referring to the canals that crisscross the ruins.
Mangrove trees (Image 13,14,16) and coconut palms (Image 15) abound around the megalithic ruins of Nan Madol. Mangroves are trees of life, truly resilient living in the edge with one foot on land and the other in the sea and constantly exposed to heat, mud and different salt level that would kill an ordinary plant in a short time! They are the earth’s most productive and biologically complex ecosystems -
Cleaning trochus shells
they provide nursery grounds for fish, provide food, nectar, refuge and shelter and support as natural water filter to many living animals. They stabilize the coast and river banks, thus a great aid in reducing damage from violent storms. Loss of mangrove forests, both natural and man-made can be catastrophic especially in this age of current hype on climate change. Mangroves can serve as carbon sinks – as they can absorb carbon, take it out of circulation and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas. Certainly it is good development to see many countries implementing mangrove replanting programmes.
How this megalithic construction (Image 17) was made is not clearly known. The Pohnpeian legend, according to Wikipedia, says that Nan Madol was constructed by twin sorcerers, arrived at the site through a large canoe, who wanted to build an altar where they can perform religious rituals. Several works of fiction on lost civilizations have been inspired by the ruins of Nan Madol o says that the huge stones were brought to the site through the aid of a flying dragon.
Worth protecting for its archaeologic, artistic, touristic and environmental values, in 1985, the Nanmadol ruins were
included in the National Historical Landmark of FSM and efforts are being made to preserve them.
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