Dropa Stones – Elaborate Hoax Or Alien Artifact?

Even Mulder and Scully would skip this one.

Russell is a Science Writer with IFLScience and has a PhD in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology

Dr. Russell Moul

Russell is a Science Writer with IFLScience and has a PhD in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology

Dr. Russell Moul

Science Writer

Russell is a Science Writer with IFLScience and has a PhD in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology.

Science Writer

A photo of a jade Bi disk that some think may be what the Dopla disks really were.

Some believe that the Dropa Disks are actually just Bi disks, ancient Chinese artifacts made of jade. However, none of the 716 objects discovered in the 1930s even exist for us to check. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Aliens are big news at the moment, what with the accounts of potential extraterrestrial encounters being discussed in Congress. No matter what you personally believe about the possibility of alien visitation, there is no denying the sheer amount of dodgy evidence used by some to support their existence. This has nothing to do with whether there is alien life out there, but everything to do with efforts to fabricate evidence – and this is especially true when it comes to ancient artifacts. One set of examples is the so-called Dropa Stones which supposedly record an ancient alien crash. However, get a tissue or something ready, because there’s a strong smell of bull**it here.

The not so “mysterious” Dropa Stones

Let’s be clear, these stones are not real archaeological discoveries. In fact, no one has even proven they actually exist. They are a prime example of pseudoarchaeological evidence used to support fringe beliefs that reject accepted archaeological interpretations and methods. But still, it is worth examining the story behind their supposed reality, as it at least helps us reject spurious claims by less discerning sources.


According to the popular story, in 1938, Chinese archaeologists discovered caves in the mountains of Bayan Kara-Ula, on the border between China and Tibet. In these caves were graves aligned in rows which contained the remains of small four-foot-tall humanoids with large over-developed heads (you can see where this is going). Inside another cave, the archaeologists found cave art depicting beings with helmets among celestial objects like the stars, moon, and sun, which were allegedly connected with small lines of dots. Then, further into the caves, they found 716 remarkable and intricately engraved discs of unknown origin that were about a foot in diameter and a third of an inch thick.

Following their discovery, the lead professor – one Professor Chi Pu Tei – on the excavation was meant to have published his finding which, although originally ridiculed and ignored by his colleagues, were eventually followed up on by the same university. Now a Dr Tsum Um Nui took over and found that the stones had microscopic hieroglyphics on them, and it was assumed that they dated back to at least 12,000 BCE.

More remarkable, the good doctor was able to piece together the meaning of the hieroglyphs to reveal an incredible story. The marks were actually a record of an alien race called the Dropa, who apparently drop-a-ed from space and crashed to Earth millennia ago. The accident killed most of those on board and the survivors took up refuge in the cave to avoid being attacked by the local people, the Ham. Despite their cultural and biological differences, these two species soon entered into a state of peaceful coexistence but they were unable to repair their ship. So they were stranded on this primitive rock we call home.

Dr Nui also write up his findings, but the Beijing Academy apparently refused to publish them. Disgraced, the poor doctor retired and disappeared into obscurity in Japan.


But what happened to the stones? Well some of them were supposedly sent to Russia to be examined by Soviet scientists who tested them and confirmed several interesting properties about the metal they were made of, but the disks themselves have since vanished. 1974, an Austrian engineer was also meant to have photographed two of the disks while in China. He even spoke to the museum manager about them, but a few days later, both the disks and the manager disappeared. The plot thickens… but only until you think about it properly.

What do we know about the Dropa disks?

We can sum this up in a short sentence – nothing. There is no evidence to corroborate any of these details. From the mysterious cave, the tiny aliens and their amazing disks, to the academics who supposedly investigated them and lost their careers as a consequence. None of these features have been traceable, in fact, Tsum Um Nui isn’t even a Chinese name, it’s Japanese, and efforts to identify the doctor have turned up nothing. There’s no evidence of an alien spacecraft crashing to earth, nor that a tribe of humans lived beside the survivors. There is indeed a tribe called the Dropka living in Tibet, but despite some claims that they are four-foot-tall and exhibit strangely large skulls, this too has been firmly disproven.

Where did this wonderful exercise in bull***tery come from? Well, the story was published various times during the 1960s and received a full write-up in 1962 when it appeared in a German vegetarian Magazine (they must have been furious about the Ham tribe). The story was published again in 1962, and in both instances, it attributed its sources to a made-up media agency.

So what can we conclude from this? Well, some more forgiving authors have stated that the mystery of the Dropa Stones remains despite the absence of evidence. They suggest that we should keep an open mind on this basis alone. However, whereas there are plenty of fringe stories out there where this more agnostic approach is applicable, the Dropa Stones story really is one to be ignored.  


  • tag
  • aliens,

  • archaeology,

  • conspiracies,

  • pseudoarchaeology