Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Stones of Status | Incredible Journey of the Yap Stones
In 1904, a villager named You (pronounced yo-u) from the Micronesian island of Yap quarried this stone valuable on the nearby island of Palau (also known as Belau). It was sent to Yap via the steamship German/a and placed in front of a community house. Eventually, this stone passed to Chief Gaag of Balabat village. It was sold with the permission of his community to the Smithsonian Institution in 1962.
Incredible Journey of the Yap Stones
For centuries stone disks (or rai) were quarried from aragonite deposits on the southern end of Palau about 402 km (250 mi) from Yap. To cross the ocean to Yap, canoes towed bamboo rafts that held the stones upright and half-submerged. Across land, rai were carried by bamboo poles.
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