10 Fascinating Historical Artefacts (That Weren't Real)

10. The Dropa Stones


The Dropa stones, uncovered in Tibet, consisted of more than 700 stone discs inscribed with spiral patterns of tiny, dense hieroglyphs. Scholar Tsum Um Nui translated the hieroglyphs and wrote down their startling story of the extraterrestrial Dropa tribe, who landed in spaceships and came into conflict with local tribes.

The fact we're not all bowing down to our benevolent Dropa overlords has probably spoiled the outcome of all this, which is that the Dropa stones weren't real. They weren't even fakes - there are no physical stones anywhere. All the Chinese museums and universities attested to have stored them have no record of them and they have never been exhibited anywhere.

Russian scientist W. Zaitsev tested them in 1968 alongside Tsum Um Nui, except neither Zaitsev nor Tsum Um Nui seem to have actually existed let alone conducted experiments on stones that didn't exist either. 'Tsum Um Nui' isn't even a Chinese name and seems as made up as everything else.

The Dropa Stones belong to a rare category of historical fakes that didn't even falsify a physical artifact. The fraud, which seems to have been invented for a German vegetarianism and new age publication in 1962, exists purely in the minds of the inventors, with any potential evidence (in)conveniently lost or destroyed.


Ben Counter is a fantasy and science fiction writer, gaming enthusiast, wrestling fan and miniature painting guru. He was raised on Warhammer, Star Wars and 1980s cartoons that, in retrospect, were't that good. Whoever you are, he is nerdier than you.