Dropas, also known as Drok-pa or Dzopa, are a race of short extraterrestrials who are believed to have landed on earth 12,000 years ago near the border between China and Tibet. This story was popularized in Erich von Daniken’s 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods. Despite his claims, there is no evidence of this landing, and some of Daniken’s claims have been disproved.

According to Daniken’s story, an archaeological expedition in 1938 set out to explore caves in the Himalayan Mountains. While exploring these caves, they discovered a system of tunnels and underground storage facilities. Interestingly, the walls and rooms were cut square and appeared glazed, as if subject to great heat.

Inside, the archaeologists found several rows of tombs. Within were the skeletons of short beings with abnormally large heads and small delicate bodies. One team member suggested that the skeletons may belong to an unknown species of guerrilla; as apes have never been observed practicing burial rites, this seems unlikely.

The graves had no epitaphs. However, hundreds of stone discs called Dropa stones were found. Each measured 12 inches across, with a small (less than one inch across) hole in the center. Each stone desk had to fine grooves carved into it, spiraling from the central hole to the edge of the desk. The disks were allegedly stored at Beijing University for two decades. Attempts to decipher their meaning were unsuccessful.

Daniken claims that these discs were closely examined in 1958. Dr. Tsum Um Nui discovered that each groove was made of very tiny hieroglyphics, so small that a strong magnifying glass was necessary. Although many of these hieroglyphics had been eroded, the good doctor somehow managed to decipher the symbols. These hieroglyphics told a tale of the Dropa spaceship crashing into the earth. Those that survived were killed by locals.

This story has since been discredited. Tsum Um Nui is not a Chinese name. Some believe that it was fictitious; others believe it was a Japanese name transliterated into Chinese. However, the syllable “Um” does not exist in the Japanese language.

The Dropa discs may in fact be Bi discs. Thousands of these man-made artifacts have been found throughout China, usually in the southeastern provinces. These discs are made usually of jade or nephrite with a small hole drilled in the center. Most of these discs are from the Neolithic period (3000 BC), but are also associated with the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC).

In 1974, an Austrian engineer photographed to stone discs on display in the Banpo Museum in Xian. He claims to have observed very small hieroglyphics in the grooves that spiraled around the discs. He asked the manager of the museum for more information, though she was only able to tell him that they were “called objects” of no great importance. The hieroglyphs that he claims to have seen cannot be seen in his photographs – much of the fine detail was lost due to the camera flash. Shortly after his visit, the manager was removed from her position. She and the stones vanished.

A photo of a bì (bi4) 璧 disc : a round flat piece of jade with a hole in it. Courtesy Wikipedia.