Don’t Dropa the Stone: Dropa Stones Debunked

One of the more interesting claims in the ancient astronaut club are the Dropa stones. I also found them quite convincing when I was getting back into the ancient astronaut theories.

The story goes something like this. An ancient tomb was found near the Tibet/China border by an actual archaeologist. In the tomb, several (hundred!) interesting things were found. A couple small bodies with weird heads and hundreds of stones with etchings on them. Some of the etchings were allegedly translated by one Tsum Um Nui revealing a story of marooned extraterrestrials. Later, the aliens are said to have been hunted to extinction or intermarried with the locals, depending on the story.

Awesome story, and pretty convincing at first if you go no further. Most people (myself included long ago) don’t. But, like all of the other ancient alien astronaut claims, when you polish off the gold shine, all that you find underneath is nothing spectacular.

To start with, if these amazing things were found by an archaeologist, where is the evidence?

Thankfully, Erich von Daniken has provided some evidence in the form of a cave painting. You can read all about it here:

According to the article, this “cave painting” that von Daniken used in his books is actually a modified picture from a science fiction magazine and EVD used it as evidence long after he learned and admitted it was a hoax.

But what about the bodies? What about the disks?

In almost every retelling of this story, the bodies are only mentioned once and the only thing taken to museums or studied, seems to be the disks. No mention of the tomb or bodies is mentioned except to introduce the mysterious disks.

Further, a number of details in the story are false. The archaeologist who discovered the tomb appears to be made up, as does the translator (whose name isn’t even Chinese) of the disks and the institute one or both of them worked for also does not exist.

The disks are also easily refuted. For there being hundreds, very few actually seem to have ended up in scholarly/museum hands. Those that allegedly did suffered the fate of ET and out of place artifacts everywhere. They disappeared. The ones that were photographed were obvious fakes evidenced by being the wrong size, or were actual Asian artifacts with mundane explanations.

Then there’s the matter of there’s name Dropa. Its not the name of aliens, but rather a tribe of Tibetan nomads.

All of that can be found here:

But the most telling criticism of the Dropa stones comes not from skeptics or archaelogical experts, but from a Pro-New Age/UFO website. They publish this extensive list along with the rest of the story and probably the best pictures anywhere.

“Below is a detailed rebuttal of most sensationalistic Extraterrestrial/Dropa claims:

1. The discovery. There are no mentions of ‘Tsum Um Nui’ anywhere; as he is supposed to have fled China and died in Japan in the 1960s this cannot be negated by Cultural Revolution, Communist coverup theory. Also, there is no mention of the 1938 archaeological expedition to the Banyan Kara Ulla range. No “Peking Academy of Pre-History” ever existed.

2. Early Sources. The earliest mention of the story is in Erich von DamienÕs infamous 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods. The book has been widely criticized as unreliable; in fact, the vast majority of names and sources appearing in the book cannot be corroborated, and no existence of the following Soviet or Chinese scholars can be found anywhere outside this story: Cho Pu Tei, Tsum Um Nui, Ernst Wagener, Vyatcheslav Saizev, and Sergei Lolladoff. Most tellingly, DŠniken gives his main source for the story as a Soviet science fiction writer Alexander Kazantsev; however Kazantsev himself disagrees with DŠniken’s account and says that it was DŠniken who told him the story, not the other way around.

3. Later Sources. The 1978 book Sungods in Exile “edited” by David Agamon, appeared to lend support to the story of the Dropa, but Agamon admitted in the magazine Fortean Times in 1988 that the book was fiction and that its alleged author, a British researcher named Dr. Karyl Robin-Evans, was imaginary. Some websites claim to show a photo of Dr Robin-Evans with the Dalai Lama. A frail, old man assisted by the current Dalai Lama, the photograph is quite recent and can not be Dr Robin-Evans — he died in 1978, according to Hartwig Hausdorf.

4. Translation. There is absolutely no precedent for an unknown language being successfully deciphered. All lost ancient languages have been rediscovered only because they survived in forms familiar to scientists. Even in such cases, deciphering and understanding these older language forms and their scripts has usually taken decades for multiple teams of highly competent linguists, and their findings are constantly being debated and updated. Many ancient scripts (notably Linear A from the island of Crete and Rongorongo from Easter Island), have defied deciphering precisely because they cannot be linked to any known language. Given these facts, there would be even greater difficulties in translating a truly extraterrestrial language. It is therefore highly unlikely that a single Chinese scholar with no reported background in linguistics could single-handedly decipher an alien script or language in his spare time.

5. The Disks. All that exists of the supposed alien disks are several wide-angle photographs. The disks photographed, firstly, do not match the described “12-inch disks”; the disks photographed are very large. Secondly, the photos show none of the supposed deep grooves. Finally, absolutely no photos, descriptions, analyses or any other evidence of the actual ‘alien script’ appear anywhere at all.

6. The Evidence. The disks were supposed to be stored in several museums in China. None of these museums have any traces of these disks, nor can any be found of the ones supposedly sent to USSR for analysis.

7. The Dropa Tribe. While reported to be a tribe of feeble dwarfs, in actuality the Dropas are nomadic herders who inhabit most of the northern Tibetan Plateau. The Ham are also inhabitants of Tibet, and traditionally have supplied Tibet’s warriors: many of the 13th Dalai Lama’s bodyguards during his escape from the Chinese invasion were Ham Tibetans. The word “Dropa”, according to Chrieghton, describes the nomadic residents of Tibetan highlands, and can be roughly translated as “solitude” or “isolated”. Furthermore, Chreighton described the Dropa as not resembling “troglodytes”, or as stunted; on the contrary, they tend to be rather large and sturdy, befitting their occupation as herders. (Richie, 95-96)”

Given that much of the evidence rests on the existence of made up individuals, falsified cave paintings and conventional artifacts, it should be safe to move the case of the Dropa stones to the debunked bin.