Stars and stones: What influenced the positions of prehistoric monuments

Once upon a time, Odalmelech, the god of Ngermelech Village in Melekeok State of Palau, and his councilmen set out to lay huge stonework over the village ground.

That very night, they started hauling in big reef stones for the project. By dawn, the project was only partially completed.

When Odalmelech saw the incomplete work, he told his crew it was shameful to be caught working in the morning sun. He ordered the crew to carve their faces on the stone monoliths and position them toward the rising sun.

The set of monoliths in Melekeok — nine stone faces in two rows parallel to the shoreline—is one of the most intriguing prehistoric structures in Palau that attract visitors from all over the world.

The legend surrounding these sculptures in Melekeok indicates the site’s possible astronomical significance to the ancient Palauans, according to William N. Morgan, who studied the prehistoric architecture in Micronesia.