Wow!! Statues, an ancient “tok” (pounding stone) and a coral tray large enough to hold the Thanksgiving turkey!
Felicia Beardsley, an archaeologist from La Verne University in Southern California just finished what is becoming an annual archeological project on Kosrae.
This year she and her team of local archaeologists continued their work at the Menka site, in the mountainous interior at the southern end of the island. The Menka River drainage is marked in yellow on the map below.
Kosrae Island, Menka Valley marked in yellow
According to oral tradition, Menka was the site of the goddess Sinlaku and the discoveries this year and last seem to support this. Many compounds, walls and terraces were uncovered; including what appears to be a temple site.
Archaeologists generally believed that Micronesia did not have a tradition of carving, until Felicia started discovering statues and other pieces of worked stone here on Kosrae. The first statue was found a number of years ago at an ancient canoe landing in the Utwe Biosphere Reserve. This was followed by discovering many carvings of faces and animals, particularly mantas at the King’s Tomb site in Tofol.
This year added a new discovery, carved statues with clay eyes! Here is a photo of one of them. This statue is about 7 inches tall from it’s chin to the top of it’s topknot.
Menka Valley Ancient Statue
Another wonderful discovery is this ancient “tok” or pounding stone. This tok would probably have been used to pound seka roots to produce a mildly narcotic beverage for kings, priests and other ruling classes. Seka is made from the same pepper plant as the Fijian kava and the Pohnpeian sakau.
The tray the tok is resting on is made from a large piece of flat coral and was found at the same location.
Menka Valley Ancient Tok & Coral Tray
These artifacts and others are now housed in the Kosrae Museum in Tofol.
For more information of Dr. Beardsley’s other projects on Kosrae, check these pages on the main Kosrae Village site: