Education and Communications

Ancient City Of Nan Madol | Lost Cities With Albert Lin

[dramatic music playing] MALE SPEAKER: This
is it, Albert. Welcome to the jungle. We are on sacred
grounds right now. You’re just beginning to
see part of the structures. ALBERT LIN: I’ve never
seen anything like this. MALE SPEAKER:
Welcome to Nan Madol. ALBERT LIN: (VOICEOVER)
Only a tiny fragment of the legendary Soudelor
city can still be seen. Mangroves choke
whatever else remains. Now, new technology
can help unlock the secrets of this place. How and why it was built, and
just how big it really is. What is that? It’s incredible, isn’t it? I was born here. But every time I come up
here, I’m always amazed. Always. This is the main ceremonial
center of Nan Madol. [majestic music playing] ALBERT LIN: (VOICEOVER)
It’s a temple to the island’s ancient
rulers, constructed from pillars of basalt rock. 800 years ago, this place
would have been bustling with hundreds of
priests, attendants, and the feared Soudelor kings. Must have been some
super-powered humans to build this, huh? Well, this area was
meant only for the elite. It was the only
time in our history that we were ruled by one
person, almost like a dictator. So he was able to
command all the people on the island to come and assist
in the building of Nan Modal. Look, is that more
rocks over there? Is that even more of them? That’s an outer
wall, built all the way to the edge of the reef. Yeah, you can see the
reef breaking, right there. Exactly. It’s massive. ALBERT LIN: (VOICEOVER)
To get to grips with this “city in the
sea,” we need to work out the full extent of it. And that can only
be done from above. I think we have to
scan this with the drone. And maybe we can start
to really map out all these different features. OK, so this is where
we’re at right now. There are 90-plus
structures, all man-made. From here, all the
way down south. You had your exit–
– All the way to there? Yes. Such a huge area. It is huge. Can’t see anything. It’s all mangrove. Were the mangroves
here 800 years ago? No, I doubt it. It’s been abandoned for a long
time, so mangroves just grew. It would have been easier
to map it then than it is now. Well, that’s why
we have LIDAR, right? We’re gonna delete
the mangroves. Taking off. [drone whirring] ALBERT LIN: (VOICEOVER) My drone
team begin the first of more than 40 planned flights. We’re scanning this whole area,
almost half a square mile– twice the size of
the Vatican City. We want to strip back
the jungle canopy and reveal the rest of the city. [dramatic music playing] I’m going back to explore the
gigantic building that Gus showed me to find out
more about the people who built this place. Why is there so little
known about the people that built this incredible monument? The reason there
is so little known is because there’s not a
written system to express ideas. It’s through oral
tradition, which are– Stories. Exactly. Those are stories handed down,
generation to generation. And no person can tell the
entire story because there’s the belief that, if they
tell the whole story, that they will die. They’re no longer useful. ALBERT LIN: How was
this place built? I can’t imagine how human
effort could actually carry these stones all the way
up to the top of this building. It’s really not clear
to us how it was done– the physics part of it. One legend talks about magic
being used to lift the rocks and bring them over here. So they would fly. Magic flew these rocks here. That’s right. ALBERT LIN: (VOICEOVER)
This whole expedition is something else. I’m a scientist, a technologist. I deal in facts. Finding out how they
actually built this? It’s going to be a challenge.
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fdreKvuqgs

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