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Notes on the Geography of Micronesia (Pohnpei): Pohnpei: Photo 19

world pictures Micronesia (Pohnpei): Pohnpei

The central tomb is straight ahead.

Perhaps the first person to write about the site was James F. O'Connell, shipwrecked on the island in the 1830s. In The Life and Adventures of James F. O'Connell, 1841, he describes what he was perhaps the first to call (p. 208-9) the "Venice of the Pacific."

The islanders considered the place haunted and would not accompany him. "You will die! You wish to look too much! You will die!" O'Connell, however, found the place engrossing and productive of "deep yet vague speculation. The immense size of a portion of the stones in the walls, rendered it impossible that they could have been placed there without some mechanical contrivance superior to any thing I met among the natives; and no contemptible degree of architectural skill was manifested in their construction, though their dilapidated state afforded no clue to the purpose for which they were piled."

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