Survey on Cooperative Partner Country for Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage: Federated States of Micronesia Nan Madol Ruins
From February 18 to 25, the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage surveyed the Nan Madol Ruins in the partnering country of the Federated States of Micronesia. The ruins are said to have been constructed between the sixth and sixteenth century and are said to have consisted of 92 artificial islands and buildings constructed on them. The full extent of the ruins has yet to be determined, leading them to be called mysterious ruins. The purposes of this survey were to examine the current status of the ruins, determine what needs to be done to protect them, and consider potential fields of cooperation of Japan.
The buildings, made by stacking basalt columns, were found to have collapsed in many places. They may have collapsed due to natural weather exposure and the growth of plants such as mangroves. Furthermore, higher water levels due to recent global warming mean that some ruins are now submerged at high tide. A detailed survey regarding these issues must be conducted in the future and a plan to manage the ruins must be formulated. At the same time, local people need to be made more aware of the need to protect these ruins. Some isles and buildings are said to be the tombs of kings and sites of rituals. The need to protect the ruins is pressing, as is the need for comprehensive preservation of oral traditions associated with those ruins.