The Dropa tribe and their stone discs
2012-10-01 0:00

By Philip Coppens |

More than a decade ago, Hartwig Hausdorf reignited the debate as to whether aliens had crashlanded in the remote Chinese mountain range of Baian-Kara-Ula. Over the past decade, several elements of the story have been confirmed.

In the mid-1990s, German author and tour guide Hartwig Hausdorf reignited the debate as to whether aliens had crash-landed in their craft in the remote mountainous region of Baian-Kara-Ula, in China’s Qinhai Province. Over the past decade or so, several elements of the story have been confirmed.

The alleged crash-landing at Baian-Kara-Ula has become known as “the Chinese Roswell”—though the crash, if there was one, occurred not in 1947 or thereabouts but several thousand years ago.

At the core of the story is that in 1937–38, an expedition led by Chi Pu Tei, an archaeologist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Peking (Beijing), was trying to find shelter in the Kunlun-Kette mountain chain. The team members entered a cave and found inscriptions on the walls. At the back of the cave they found several tombs, aligned in a row, containing strange-looking skeletons, each measuring 1.0 metre 20 centimetres in length and having an abnormally large skull. Buried with the skeletons were unusual stone discs, 716 in all, about 30 cm wide and 1.0 cm deep with a hole in the centre, each bearing strange hieroglyphs. Were these Stone Age long-playing records?

The story goes that the Chinese Academy of Sciences tried to ban the publication of these findings, but eventually the story of the Dropa (or Dzopa) tribe and their stone discs was released—though never confirmed.

There are several aspects to this story: the strange skeletons; the discovery of a little-known tribe of dwarf-like beings; the nature and whereabouts of the discs; and the decipherment of the inscriptions.

The script was apparently only deciphered and the passages translated in the early 1960s by a team led by Professor Tsum Um Nui of the Peking Academy of Prehistory. He claimed that they describe the crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft 12,000 years ago. Here are a few lines from the translation: “The Dropa came out of the clouds in their aeroplanes. Before sunrise, our men, women and children hid in the caves ten times. When they finally understood the sign language of the Dropa, they realised the newcomers had peaceful intentions...”

As for the discs, it has been pointed out that stone discs are a known ingredient of Chinese culture and are called “Bi” discs. Although their origin is unknown, these Bi discs have been dated to as far back as 10,000 BCE—thus largely coinciding with the time-frame of the alleged crash.

Bi discs were normally made from jade or other precious materials and were regarded as status symbols. In the aftermath of war, the losers were required to hand over their discs as a sign of submission. Furthermore, it is known that the discs were used in burials. In aristocratic burials, the discs were normally placed above the head, below the feet and on the chest of the deceased. Interestingly, Bi discs were often considered to be “the Ear of Heaven”, and sometimes the hole in the disc was placed in front of the mouth so that the dead could speak to their ancestors.

The story that stone discs with hieroglyphs were found in a tomb is therefore not only plausible but likely—considering, too, that Bi discs often carried inscriptions.
In 1974, a tourist, Austrian engineer Ernst Wegerer, saw and photographed several discs in the Banpo Museum in Xian, in Shensi Province. But this begs the question of whether these discs, which are similar in description to those reportedly discovered in Baian-Kara-Ula, were “just” Bi discs or actual examples of the ones found in the mountain cave during the 1937–38 expedition.

Descendants of the Dropa

Many people incorrectly believe that the story of the Dropa tribe was first aired in a 1978 book titled Sungods in Exile, edited by David Agamon. This book details the 1947 expedition of the English scientist Dr Karyl Robin-Evans, who supposedly reached the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains and made contact with the Dropa. According to the book, the tribe comprised several hundred members, all dwarfish in appearance and four feet (1.22 metres) tall on average. Dr Robin-Evans stayed there for half a year, learned the Dropa’s language and was introduced to the history and traditions of the dwarfish beings, who told him that their ancestors had come from Sirius, of all places.

It is now known that the book was largely science fiction dressed up as non-fiction, but many people had already decided that the Dropa story was bogus—especially those who erroneously) argue that the book was the first to mention the “ridiculous” story.

It would seem that Sungods in Exile either was meant to cash in on stories about the Dropa that were in circulation for a few years before it was published, or—if you like a conspiratorial explanation—was meant to discredit the story. Why? Perhaps it was merely because China was a communist nation and any interest in things Chinese was o fficially discouraged at the time by western governments.
But it was definitely not a hoax—at least not one executed in 1978.


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