Walking With an Archeologist

What's it like to explore with a professional archeologist?
Pretty Exciting!

- keep in mind - this is from a person with a very strong ocean bias!

I joined Felicia and Bruce on a few of their weekend explorations and I thought that the photos from Menka would help you share the excitement and wonder of investigating the ancient past.

Menka Valley is known to be an important site in Kosraean pre history, possibly as a religious settlement. The Waguk family opened the valley to visitors a few years ago, offering guided tours through the amazing rainforest valley and part of the ruins complex.

We all knew that only a fraction of the artifacts and compounds at the Menka site have been made available to the public. However, noone, including Salik, was prepared for the extensive compounds, walls, worked stones and terracing that we found.

Our exploratory "team" consisted of Dr. Felicia Beardsley, Salik Waguk (a rainforest guide and a member of the landowning family), Bruce and myself.

Here is a view from the trail head overlooking the valley entrance.

Over looking the Menka Valley Wild Ginger peeking through the undergrowth

As you go deeper into the valley, you discover a wonderland of giant trees, many dripping with orchids, tree ferns, vines, mushrooms and ferns growing along the path with glimpses of bright wild ginger peeking through the foliage A small colorful stream runs along side the main path, which you cross a half a dozen times on your way though the valley.

A mile or so into the valley you will come to a grouping of compounds and artifacts. You will find some great photos of this area here and here. Then, as you venture further into the mountains you will start to find areas looking like this...

Remains of Ancient Structure on Kosrae Stone artifact on the forest floor

Sometimes you will find artifacts in the open like this food preparation stone, but most of time everything is hidden under a heavy growth of ferns, vines and sometimes mud.

Uncovering a compound A wall revealed

It really helps to have someone who knows what they are looking for - AND a machete!

Uncovering a compound A wall revealed A wall revealed

In all we probably covered several kilometers, uncovering the edges of 6 or 7 compounds, but we barely scratched the surface of this large and impressive area.

Let me know if you would like more information about exploring the Menka Valley, archeology on Kosrae or if you would like to contact Dr. Beardsley.

food prep stone, complete with pounding stone food prep stone, complete with pounding stone food prep stone, complete with pounding stone